Optimizing gift catalogs

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Optimizing Giving Catalog revenue from an analytics approach

The challenge

Many nonprofit organizations – such as World Vision U.S., World Vision Canada, American Red Cross, Operation Smile, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – have employed direct mail and ecommerce gift catalogs to diversify their donor portfolio and partake in a different share of wallet, especially during the holiday season. Russ Reid has helped these organizations build their gift catalogs into a highly successful fundraising channel through strategic investment, testing and analytics, including square-inch analysis, or SQUINCH. Many catalogs have seen continued growth in a time when other fundraising channels have taken a hit with the economy. This analytics-based approach can significantly improve an existing product without additional expense.

Russ Reid solution

Russ Reid takes a data-driven approach to help guide our strategy. SQUINCH is one of the tools available in our arsenal, as it takes product-level results and seeks to determine the relationship between the space allocated to a product and its corresponding revenue. This analysis reduces all products to a common denominator and indicates whether income is above or below average on a per-product, per-page, per-spread and per-category basis.

Through SQUINCH, we can identify which products should be removed from the catalog (or moved to a different page), which ones should be given more real estate, and which ones can stay just as they are. These findings help inform our strategy and creative direction, and the same analysis is performed year after year for ongoing optimization.


Through rigorous analytics, we can continually refine and optimize catalogs to achieve incremental growth year over year. One organization in the international relief and development sector first implemented SQUINCH in 2009 and saw staggering immediate results:

  • Total revenue increased 25%, including a 32% increase in acquisition revenue
  • New donor acquisition increased by 44%

Additionally, their catalog has seen continued growth each year, with total revenue increasing 58% from 2009-2012. New donor acquisition has doubled over the given time period. By incorporating SQUINCH into the solution, gift catalogs can be constantly refined to achieve continued impact.