What does Send One Per Household in Blackbaud CRM™ really mean?

by Sara Swiatlowski and Aaren Ballinger


The Marketing Effort module in Blackbaud CRM™ offers so many little bells and whistles to help you target just the right audience for your appeals. In this post, we focus on the “Send to one person per household” feature.





This important feature can be found on the Universe tab of any marketing effort. You can click the Edit button next to the Universe definition heading to modify this setting.





If you select Qualifying individuals and organizations, the Send to one person per household option also appears. Select this option to send the marketing effort to only one person in each household, even if other household members are included in the selection.





But you may be asking yourself - should I send to one per household in my next appeal, or allow multiple members of the household fall into the mailing list? Here’s some considerations on whether to check - or not to check - this powerful little box.


What channel are you using for your appeal?


For direct mail, most organizations keep the box checked and only send a mailing to one person per household. The reason for that is usually both because of cost and perception on the part of their constituents. Direct mail is one of the most cost intensive ways to appeal to your audience, so sending multiple pieces of the same mailer to one household can be seen as overkill. Sending the same mailing to one household can also create a negative perception of your organization with your audience - that you are either unorganized or wastefully spending their generous donations with superfluous mail. Which is the exact opposite impression that fundraisers want to create!


Are there cases where this might not be the case? Sure. Perhaps you’re sending an effort where different segments get completely different packages, in that case, you might want to send to both household members.


Likewise, if you are utilizing email or telefund for your appeal, you may want to uncheck the box and include multiple household members. It typically doesn’t cost any additional money to send to a bit larger email list - with email, the more impressions the better! Household members are also unlikely to compare their inboxes over the dinner table to see if they have been double-solicited.It’s a similar story with telefund - one member of the household may be more likely to answer their phone than the other, so depending on the appeal you might just want to throw all of the household phone numbers on the list to reach out to.


Are there “quirks” relevant to your audience and your specific organization?


For some types of organizations and some specific groups of constituents, there are “quirks” that may lead you to make your own rules around using this feature. For example, when soliciting for a higher education institution, married alumni in one household are quite common, and each spouse may each have their own giving priorities within the university.


If you are sending an appeal that has several different packages with tailored messaging and imagery for alumni of different colleges, it might make sense to uncheck the box and send your mailing to multiple individuals per household. This way, Constituent A will receive their personalized mailing for the College of Fine Art, and their spouse Constituent B will receive their mailing for the College of Law.


Other Considerations


Be smart with name formats

In the example above with two married alumni, make sure you are not using a joint name format when addressing the letter / envelope. Since each package is tailored to their specific college of graduation, you will want to address the mailings individually. For other situations, you can utilize the “send to one per household” feature but still address couples jointly in order to capture all members of the household in a more general solicitation mailing.


Understand your exclusions

Keep in mind that any exclusions you have built into your marketing effort still apply. So, even if you are sending to multiple constituents per household, if one constituent within a household falls into your exclusions they will not appear in the final mailing list. Conversely, if the other constituent in that household does not fall into the exclusions, they will still appear in the list.


Primary household members and segment hierarchy

If you are sending to one per household in your marketing effort, understand that it doesn’t mean the household member marked as “primary” will be the constituent that ends up in the final list. Blackbaud CRM™ will pick the household member that is present in the highest segment in the marketing effort.


Here’s an example of this in action. Say you have set up the marketing effort below with segments prioritized with your most recently lapsed donors at the top of the list:




You have a household with two constituents - Constituent A and Constituent B.

  • Constituent A, the primary constituent in the household, falls into the second 13-24 Months Lapsed Segment

  • Constituent B falls into the first 0-12 Months Lapsed Segment


Since you’ve set the effort to send to one per household, Constituent B will be selected for the marketing effort and Constituent A will be excluded due to their household member qualifying in a higher priority segment. You’ll still be able to address the mailing to both using a joint name format, but the marketing effort itself will only show up on the communication record of Constituent B.


Hopefully this post helps you think through some of the ramifications of the send to one per household feature in marketing efforts. For more help on utilizing the marketing tools in Blackbaud CRM™ effectively, contact the experts at BrightVine.