8 fundraising direct mail tips

May 5, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Direct mail is dead. Unless it isn’t.

Many nonprofit managers are evaluating their direct mail fundraising programs and assessing their return on investment, but many others are seeing such good results that they are continuing to use mail solicitation.

Speaking during the AFP International Fundraising Conference, Gretchen Gordon of KUAC TV & FM in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Chris Kasavich of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center offered tips on getting the most out of a fundraising method that has held its own for a long time. Their advice:

  • Acquisition. The wrapper is important. Explain to them: How does their (little) gift matters and why the organization should/does matter to them?
  • Renewals and upgrades. Segment both data and message. Tell donors how their gifts helped a mission they care about.
  • Tell them their continued support will allow both them and the organization to continue making a difference.
  • Seize the change to get donors to upgrade, by telling them “why.”
  • Tell a story. Make it moving. Data validates emotion, not the other way around.
  • Write like people talk.
  • Remember that often the response card is the only piece left months later.
  • Match language and feel from page to online, because many donors will give with a clock over a check.
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