Successful fundraising doesn’t happen by accident. Effective strategies are based on common business practices and highly customized marketing efforts. Good intentions won’t lead to donations if your appeal is unconvincing. Nonprofit fundraisers compete for the attention of their target audience in the same way as for-profit companies do. They even utilize the same marketing tools. Why not borrow some of the tried and tested practices such as direct mail fundraising? Combining conventional mail fundraising appeals with mail automation practices can give a major boost to your fundraising campaign.
Let’s consider your typical fundraising strategies first. What marketing channels do you rely on to raise more money for your projects? Many nonprofit fundraisers still make repeated direct calls and continue suffering from rejection. They hesitate to experiment with digital fundraising and multichannel marketing, including direct mail fundraising. Yet, according to the recent data, social media and print belong to the TOP 5 communication tools that are most effective to inspire donations. Moreover, 11% of Global Trends in Giving Report respondents mentioned direct mail as their preferred method to donate. Direct mail fundraising is extremely effective if you learn to implement it properly. So why not use this type of fundraising strategy for your NGO?
When Is a Fundraising Letter a Good Choice?
Before presenting direct mail fundraising tips, let’s clarify what the best cases for writing a fundraising letter are. Understanding the goals of your future direct mail campaign will help to define its initial requirements and formulate your expectations. Generally, nonprofit organizations send a fundraising letter to:
- Ask for personal/corporate donations
- Promote the possibility of online donations
- Offer a subscription to a monthly donation program
- Inform recipients about charity events
- Offer volunteering activities
- Ask to provide auction items
In some cases, mail fundraising appeals can serve several purposes at the same time. It’s absolutely up to you which fundraising strategies you decide to use for your project — just define the types of financial or human resources you need and design a customized mail piece for each of them. If you don’t have an opportunity to hire a professional designer, use Inkit’s postcard builder to create cost-effective fundraising appeals on your own.
5 Direct Mail Fundraising Recommendations for an Effective Direct Mail Campaign
#1. Analyze Your Target Audience: General Stats and Extensive Research
This recommendation isn’t exclusive for boosting your direct mail fundraising. Target list analysis is a required step before starting any direct mail campaign. Demographic factors are crucial to crafting the most suitable calls to action that would make your mail memorable and inspire people to donate. Here are some useful fundraising statistics you may find helpful:
- 14% of donors like receiving thank you notes in the form of mail letters
- 19% of Baby Boomer donors prefer to make donations through direct mail, whereas Millennials and Generation X use mail letters mostly to learn about a fundraising campaign
- 54% prefer to make donations using a credit or debit card
- 67% volunteer locally
- 27% donate to cover medical expenses
- 20% are more likely to donate if you offer them a gift
These are some key facts about your prospect donors to help you adapt your direct mail campaign accordingly. However, to get the most out of your marketing efforts, you need to zero in on your audience. Preferences regarding fundraising strategies are also influenced by religion, gender, nationality, ideology, and numerous other factors. A customized target list will ensure higher direct mail response rates and make your direct mail fundraising more cost-effective.
#2. Target Both Existing and Potential Donors
How can you transform a range of mail fundraising appeals into a powerful direct mail campaign? Focus on what you already have and what you can get at the same time. The creation of a prospecting fundraising letter requires time and effort to make it worthwhile. To achieve this goal, it’s better to invest in professional mail services like Inkit. They will support the direct mail fundraising and provide you with the resources to make it more cost-effective and fine-tuned. With A/B testing available in Inkit you’ll get a chance to study the response of your newly acquired target audience. As a result, you’ll gain a detailed picture of potential donors and a deep understanding of how they are likely to react to different kinds of mail fundraising appeals.
Meanwhile, remember the people who have already contributed to your projects. They are the most likely to donate or volunteer in the future, so you have to keep in touch with them. But please, never treat the existing donors simply as an ATM ready to share their money for any project. Remember that you’re dealing with human beings who need to feel a connection. So don’t forget to nurture the with thank you notes, holiday postcards, newsletters or other friendly mail pieces. Such an approach turns the NPO-donor relationships into a partnership where both sides benefit and feel appreciated.
#3. Use CRM Software for Your Direct Mail Campaign
As technology advances, the fundraising strategies evolve at the same pace. CRM systems can be particularly useful for large-scale projects involving many donors. They make donor data easy to manage and filter. Nonprofit organizations, like any other business or organization, cannot keep track of all information without special tools. Modern direct mail fundraising is very similar to B2C or B2B sales with customer experience playing a leading role in product or service promotion. There are numerous demographic factors that need to be associated and managed in one place for maximum efficiency. That way, CRM software doesn’t only help to raise more money, it also allows to save time and cut expenditures.
Another valid reason to implement CRM systems is the possibility to integrate them with other useful tools. For instance, in case you decide to use Inkit for direct mail fundraising automation, you can easily upload donor lists from Drip, HubSpot, Sailthru, or Iterable. This will make your direct mail campaign more powerful and highly targeted. CRM integration allows sending the right mail to the right recipients at the right time based on accurate data.
#4. Use Multichannel Marketing
Although direct mail fundraising is highly effective, nonprofit fundraisers need to complement it with other marketing efforts. 95% of marketers admit the importance of multichannel marketing, whereas only 73% have implemented it in their marketing campaigns. When it comes to nonprofit organizations, the number of fundraisers that benefit from multiple fundraising channels are even lower. Make sure to turn your disparate marketing efforts into a well-planned fundraising campaign uniting offline and online resources. This can help you raise the required funds by boosting your digital fundraising with direct mail — and vice versa.
For instance, you can ask website visitors to provide their mailing address to receive newsletters, thank you notes, or gifts. You can also add QR codes to your mail fundraising appeals. By scanning them, potential donors will be able to go directly to the donation page or visit your social media profile. The results of Global Trends in Giving Report show that 56% of donors consider Facebook as the most charity-inspiring social media. So don’t lose the opportunity to tell potential donors about your Facebook page using mail letters. In addition to that, placing QR codes on mail pieces you get more freedom in terms of mailpiece design. As a result, you can distribute the free space more efficiently, focus on calls to action and other important information (To learn about other benefits of QRs in direct mail, read the detailed article in Inkit’s blog).
#5. Take Into Account the Needs of Your Donors
First of all, you need to take care of security. Regardless of the money transfer method selected, all donors want to be sure that their personal information is protected. Speaking in numbers, 92% of respondents stressed that they expect NPOs and NGOs to prevent data breaches. Moreover, 68% claimed that .org domain extension looks more reliable for donations than other domains including country codes, .com, etc. Therefore, note that in case you want to attract more funds and increase response rates, data security is a must. Direct mail automation is the easiest option to secure the contact and financial information of your donors. Integrating Inkit with a CRM, you can make sure that all the data is computer processed and well-protected. You won’t need to worry that the data will be breached on its way to a post office.
Information security isn’t the only thing that matters. In case you want to run an effective direct mail campaign, be ready that not all people may want to donate. A great deal of your target list may be willing to volunteer or provide other help instead. Therefore, pay attention to direct mail customization and compile mailing lists based on different purposes. This way you will use all the available resources and engage as many people as possible.