Since 1946, the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) has been a dedicated service organization for veterans based out of Washington, D.C. The PVA was founded by brave service members who came home from World War II (WWII) with spinal cord injuries, who endured few solutions to the major recovery challenges they faced. PVA’s mission is to develop unique expertise on a wide variety of issues involving the special needs of veterans of the U.S. armed forces who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction. PVA’s single-minded mission is to “empower these brave men and women to regain what they fought for: their freedom and independence (PVA, n.d). Additionally, the organization is heavily involved with promoting and protecting the civil rights of disabled veterans.
PVA delivers holistic recovery and transitions for its severely disabled veteran service members with integrative programs and services that fulfill the desired needs. The organizations offer programs such as Paving Access for Veterans Employment, medical services, advocating for health policy’s, research education, government advocacy and legislation, counseling and treatment services, and recreational sports.
The PVA utilizes many ways to raise money to fund their services, but a majority of their funding comes from direct mail campaign soliciting. They send free address labels or greeting cards to potential donors on their mailing list to solicit donations for receiving the labels and cards as gifts. Their mailing list includes more than four million donors. In 2016, PVA invested $40 million dollars in postage, administrative, and gift expenses that resulted in $100 million in donations. Most of the money was spent on mailings to people who never respond. Typically, the PVA receive responses from more than a few percents of the people contacted for donations. Solicitations from commercial companies are so low they often measure the responses on basis points and not percentage points (Sharpe, Veaux, & Velleman, 2015). In efforts to raise more money with fewer investments, the PVA must figure out other means of soliciting that is least cost-effective such as social media.
The PVA estimates that it takes 4% of their funds to secure about $100 million in donations. However, the PVA understands that each year its efforts to raise $100 million with their investment is not maximizing its potential donations. This is due to the access of address labels and gifts being sent to the people they contact that do not respond. To better manage the mailing list the PVA can analyze its soliciting data to develop a more efficient mailing list of patrons to contact.
The purpose of this study is to determine how PVA can maximize its donations by mailing its address labels and gifts to contributors that have a higher probability to donate.
First, PVA will need to identify quantifiable factors which are affecting their response contact mailing list. These quantifiable factors will provide information and insight about PVA’s mailing list of the response and non-response contacts to make them more probable. Factors that affect PVA’s mailing list are the mean and median of the gift amount (GIFTAMT) contributed by the responders.
An evaluation of PVA’s summary statistics (figure 1) can assist PVA in determining the demographics of “Who” to contact through the mail that will give the highest probability of receiving a contribution. The data of 26 variables gathered from 3648 responses indicates the mean for the data set is 15.72 and median is 14. The difference between the mean and median is 1.72. The histogram (figure 3) of the data set indicates that most of their contributors donate smaller amounts between $1 and $30. Donations greater than $30 significantly decreases. This indicates why the mean for the data set is $15.72. PVA can infer that they can raise more money from smaller donations. According to the data set, it would be wise for PVA to determine how to engage more people that will contribute smaller donations in efforts to raise more money.
The first quantifiable factors that affect the contributors that can be analyzed is the contributors employed by the local government. The scatter plot (figure 9) displays the relationship of those local government employees and the greater chance of them contributing a larger donation than the mean or median.
Another quantifiable factor is the number of times donor has responded to mail order offer other than PVA’s (HIT). This scatter plot (figure 5) indicates that many of the contributors respond to mail order offers from organizations other than PVA’s.
To improve PVA’s donations from contributors through the mail a variety of statistical tools need to be utilized to better predict future needs. These methods will organize the data to help management in making future decisions regarding who to mail address labels or gifts. Lastly, PVA will have the ability to develop an accurate model for predicting its contributors.
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). (n.d)., How We Serve. Retrieved from https://pva.org/about-us/how-we-serve/
Sharpe, N., Veaux, R. & Velleman, P. (2015) Business Statistics. Pearson.