Nonprofit fundraising using direct mail requires that you have an up-to-date database of recipients and a compelling message. If you don’t, then the cost of printing and postage can eat away at your donated funds. However, if you carefully target your prospects and present your message in the right way, then the return on your investment is significant.
There are two types of mailing lists used for direct-mail fundraising. The first is a house file list, which is made up of all your previous donors and the second is a prospecting list. A prospecting list contains leads that you’ve gathered from various sources, but haven’t yet given to your organization.
Since the house file list has been vetted, any direct mail campaign should generate a good return on your investment. Your goal for this list is to make money.
The second list will not see as great a return. Instead, you should hope to break even on any direct mail campaign. The intangible benefit is that you can then move more people to your house file list and see greater returns on future campaigns.
Database management is important for all business types, but for the nonprofit, a donor database is the life’s blood of the organization. For help managing large databases or segmenting existing lists, direct mail companies such as Mail Manager can help.
Delivering Your Message
The most effective direct fundraising messages tell a story. Grab the attention of your audience and appeal to them on an emotional level with stories and testimonials.
Once you have their attention and have formed a connection, clearly state why your organization needs to raise money and how the funds will be used. Always ask for concrete amounts and include a postscript. It’s been shown that the postscript is one of the most read parts of a letter.
People fall into two categories, readers, and skimmers. If you write your letter for the skimmers then you will catch them and the readers. Make sure there is continuity in your writing. Logically move from one topic to the next and keep it simple. Use white space, headlines, and images to break up the text. The text of your headlines should spell out your entire message in abbreviated form.
There are certain elements required for nonprofit fundraising using direct mail. For instance, you need a reply card. You may not realize that the design of your reply card has a lot to do with getting that final commitment.
- Is it easy to understand?
- Can they find it in their mailing packet?
- Does it have a reply envelope?
Most importantly, the outside envelope used to house your direct mail campaign plays an integral part. Don’t let your mailing get set aside. Include a message on the envelope as a way to get people to open up your letter.
Mail Manager can show you which envelopes, card stock, and even colors work best for engagement and conversion. Don’t let a bad design derail your fundraising efforts.
For those of you with large mailing lists, just stuffing the envelopes can require a lot of manpower. Mail Manager can handle all of that. Our company has the ability to design, create, and process any size of direct mail campaign.
For best results, we suggest sending a test mailing to a select sample of donors. This allows you to see if your message is going to be well-received. Once you know that it has appeal, you can then send out your mailing to the entire list.
Tracking Your Direct Mail Campaign
Carefully track returns. You want to make sure you update your database, moving prospects to active donors. This helps ensure that future direct mail campaigns are even more successful. The post office should supply you with a list of forwarded or changed addresses. This information allows you keep track of donors who have moved.
Nonprofit fundraising using direct mail allows you to solicit funds from a targeted group of individuals. The return on your investment is good as long as you have a good database, the right design, and a good message. Mail Manager can show you how to accomplish all of that. Contact us to find out how you can use direct mail for your next fundraising drive.