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Making Direct Mail Work to Grow Your Nonprofit

Oct 01, 2011

New Making Direct Mail Work Series Article #1: Growing Your Nonprofit

Last month we announced the beginning of a new article series on making direct mail work to grow your business. This is the first article in that series.

Operating a non-profit is very much like running a company – sometimes even harder. That’s why direct mail is so important in helping your organization generate new donations and/or memberships and bringing awareness to your cause. 

But are you using direct mail effectively? Here are four tips on how to use direct mail help your non-profit grow.

1. Make an impact. When recipients open up their mailbox, you have three seconds to grab their attention. Your mailer’s design and content should be eye-catching, clear, and directly call the recipient to action.  If your performing arts group holds an annual benefits concert, for example, create a colorful, attractive jumbo postcard with  all of the relevant information prominently placed: when, where, ticket cost (and how to buy), and the importance of your cause (say, the money goes towards buying musical instruments for underprivileged kids).

2. Plan ahead. Direct mail campaigns are proven to be more effective when you “touch” each recipient more than once.  If your organization holds a big annual event – say, a holiday craft fair – promote it to participants (local crafters in our example) starting in the spring.  Send a “Calling All Crafters!” reply card that explains the event and how you’d like the crafter to participate.  One part of the card they keep as a reminder and the other they mail back to you as an RSVP.

Then in October, advertise your holiday fair to potential attendees by mailing a flyer or postcard to every household in your area. You don’t need a list to do this; Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) will expose your event to everyone within a certain geographic area. Get creative here – your colorfully embellished holiday postcard can act as a coupon for a free cup of hot cocoa (with a paid admission), for example. With Click2Mail, you can design both mailers at once and schedule them to run at the appropriate times.

3. Integrate direct mail with email.  The recent Target Analytics Internet Giving Benchmarking Study shows that direct mail is still the best way to get charitable donations, but that multichannel communications are even more powerful.  “Nonprofits must closely consider how fundraising channels work in relation to one another versus as competing initiatives.” 

For soliciting new donors, create a personalized letter that details the “warm and fuzzy” reasons why the recipient should contribute.  Then follow up with an e-mail that features the same imagery and call to action with a briefer message.  Offer the ability to pay by return mail or online.

4. Get creative.  One of the beauties of direct mail is that it is so versatile.  A creative piece that really stands out can exponentially increase your results (donations, memberships or attendance). For your animal rescue club, for example, use our reply letter, where the envelope serves as both the original and the return envelope for the included reply piece and makes donating by reply mail easy.  Include an adorable photo of a puppy or kitten on the front and explain how donated dollars help pets like these find permanent homes.

Click2Mail makes using direct mail to grow your non-profit easy.  With our wide variety of products you can make an impact, plan ahead, integrate direct mail with other channels, and get creative.   We can even help design your mailer.  Let’s get started today.