3 direct mail nonprofit fundraising strategies

Direct mail appeals should include Web links to increase donor participation.
Date Published
02/19/2014

No single communication channel can support every fundraising initiative. Instead, successful campaigns require cross-channel efforts that utilize the strengths of each method of marketing or outreach, including social media, email and direct mail. As many nonprofit groups move toward digital options to reach out to donors, they shouldn’t necessarily discount the usefulness of direct mail as a resource to support online activities. That being said, there are a variety of strategies that post cards, letters and brochures should include in order to drive donors and prospects to connect to Internet links.

Simplify the message
Post cards and brochures are marketing pieces that force nonprofits to be judicious with the text and visual content they choose to include. According to a recent Entrepreneur article, it’s important for organizations to make the information on direct mail pieces as consumable and easy to follow as possible. For example, if a charitable group includes a URL link to a specific website, it should be as simple as possible. Why? Donors can’t click on the link using a post card, which means they’ll have to enter it into their computer or mobile device. If the link is too complicated, the recipients will likely become frustrated and no longer have the desire to follow it.

Integrate clear calls-to-action
Direct mail items are generally static, meaning people can’t really interact with them beyond looking at them and reading the content. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t inspire action. The marketing resource MarketingProfs recommended including landing pages that donors can follow online. These could be fundraising pages or links to volunteer opportunities. If the focus of the direct mail piece is to garner a greater number of donations, then it’s important that this link be central. There shouldn’t be any other competing messages that could distract the person reading the mailer.

Target specific donors or demographics
Using donor management software, nonprofits have an excellent opportunity to send out marketing materials specifically aimed at donor groups. Using a database of information collected from past contributions and prospects, organizations send out appeals that are based on sound information instead of inaccurate acquisition lists that may not actually bring a return on investment. MarketingProfs recommended segmenting donors by income, age and gender, which can help nonprofits focus on specific demographics that will likely respond to the Web-enabled direct mail piece.

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