Q. What can we do with our house list of previous donors to maximize rates of return and increase gifts?

A. First, use an electronic version of your list to sort by recency of gift and then by dollar in descending order. Then design separate creative approaches for those who gave within the last 12 months, those whose most recent gifts were within the past 12 to 24 months and those whose most recent gift was more than 2 years before date of mailing.

Look to upgrade every donor by asking for an increased gift at a specific amount. For instance, if someone gave $35 during your last appeal, ask if they would give $50 or even $100 this time. Acknowledging gifts is important at every level, but we will go one step further, and recommend that anyone who gives $100 or more receive a fully personalized letter.

Through careful segmentation and differentiation of creative approaches, you will maximize return and achieve great results.