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Top Tips for Direct Mail Fundraising

May 28, 2019

If your nonprofit has been disappointed with the results of telephone or digital campaigns, add direct mail to the mix and watch donations soar.
 
A multi-channel approach that includes well-integrated direct mail, email and website yields a 28% higher conversion rate than digital alone, according to Nonprofit Source. Check out these proven tricks for getting the best return on your investment.
 
1. Personalize it.
Using the recipient's name and full color can increase response by 135%. Adding more database information can increase the response rate up to 500%. Imagine the impact of receiving a letter that addresses you by name, thanks you for your previous donation (including the date and amount) and shows a photo of a specific goal that was achieved with the help of that donation.
 
Sound like a lot of work? It's not, thanks to Click2Mail's automation tools. Just a few clicks create a mailing where every piece is fully customized to the individual donor.
 
2. Persuade with positivity.
Draw readers in with a story of a recent success, or how your overall mission is being accomplished. Make it emotional, as that's why most people give. Provide proof (anecdotal, statistical or visual) that you are saving or changing lives. Emphasize the "opportunities" rather than the needs.
 
Include engaging images. Happy looking people and animals draw better than sick ones, and photos of people draw better than photos of buildings.
 
Relate to the recipient one-on-one with frequent use of the words "I" and "you" and references to his/her interests and "valued support." Include a handwritten signature (or an image of it) of the organization's leader.
 
3. Stick to the goal.
Each mailpiece should have one — and only one — purpose. If you're soliciting donations, don't add any other communications such as news items; it will only confuse and weaken your message. Save those for a separate mailing.
 
4. Create an effective appeal.
Repeat the appeal several times throughout the mailpiece. Most importantly, it should be in the last paragraph and again in a P.S. below the signature.
 
Ask for a specific amount, or tiered options for giving (Basic, Patron, Leadership). Next to the check boxes, show how each amount will help the cause: "$50 buys 36 bowls of pet food." You could also make the amount a customized field based on the recipient's donation history.
 
Avoid using the word "gift." Better words are "contribution," "help," "support" or "investment."
 
Create a sense of urgency. Give a deadline for making a donation and the reason for the deadline, such as to relieve a currently urgent situation.
 
5. Make it easy to respond.
The call to action should offer clear directions for them to send you the donation. It might be a response card and return envelope, a link to your website page, or a scannable QR code that will take users to the website.
 
Actually, your website should always be listed in your mailpiece for those who want to learn more about you, even if they're mailing you a paper check.
 
6. Follow up.
Sending a follow-up letter a few weeks later makes a huge difference in response rates. For those who didn't respond to the first letter, say that you haven't heard from them and repeat the appeal. For those who did respond, thank them and ask for an increased donation.
 
Even better, plan a direct mail calendar that touches your donors throughout the year, keeping them up to date and making them feel valued in between fundraising letters.
 
7. Maintain professional quality.
Even in our digital era, physical mail is valued more highly than email or online ads by all age groups. And the classier it looks, the better it performs. This covers everything from design to spell-checking to the paper it's printed on. Don't risk turning off prospects by cutting corners.
 
Optimize your database for more cost-efficient, targeted mailings. For example, categorize it by people who gave 1 year ago, 2 or more years ago or never; people who've attended your events, and so on. Of course, your list must also be checked for duplicate and outdated addresses, which will reduce postage costs.
 
Click2Mail helps nonprofits create successful fundraising appeals in minutes with a sophisticated array of database and automation tools, powerful design templates, super-fast print-to-mail times and state-of-the-art delivery to the post office. All right from your computer! Get started today, and please feel free to give us a call if you need any help or advice.