3 important direct mail fundraising ideas

Direct mail fundraising can benefit nonprofits, but new strategies are needed.
Date Published
03/07/2014

Nonprofit fundraisers increasingly have a number of options as they develop outreach strategies. Social media, email and other digital tools provide organizations with unique opportunities to get in touch and develop relationships with donors on a more consistent basis. However, many nonprofit groups continue to recognize the benefit of direct mail fundraising appeals. By integrating donor management software, philanthropic organizations can implement a more effective direct mail campaign that ensures donors get the pieces they’re supposed to. While the most effective fundraising strategies combine a variety of tactics, developing a more streamlined direct mail campaign can strengthen overall donor appeals.

1. How to stand out
People receive a sizable amount of mail on a daily basis, which means nonprofits need to find a way to make sure their fundraising appeals stand out. According to Fundraising Success Magazine, one approach that charitable groups can take is to mark mail as urgent or official. For instance, using language that suggests the contents are time sensitive can provide greater incentives for donors. At the same time, the fundraising publication suggested using vibrant colors, including neon yellow or red, don’t necessarily have the intended impact of generating greater interest. Instead, straightforward designs can achieve a larger impact by demonstrating a more professional outlook. The key with this tactic is to use a deft hand. Every direct mail appeal obviously can’t be an urgent matter and probably would be best left for capital campaigns or fundraising events that haven’t garnered enough support in a specified amount of time.

2. How to leverage the USPS
It’s common knowledge that direct mail fundraising can be an expensive approach to take, but there are ways to mitigate the costs. Business software provider PitneyBowes recommended organizations make the most of their relationships with the U.S. Postal Service by taking advantage of the government agency’s standard mail multiple entry drop ship offering. By working with a private shipping companies that deliver mail to a designated USPS destination network distribution center, nonprofits can save considerable amounts of money. Sending direct mail to specific regions can deliver cost savings, even when an enterprise works with a private shipper to coordinate outreach efforts.

3. How to target donors
Another important approach the online resource wiseGEEK highlighted is using demographics to better streamline direct mail appeals. Software for nonprofits can help organizations segment their donor lists so that mailers are appropriate for each contributor. It’s important to keep track of data – for example, which donors participate in a monthly giving program and which ones are major donors – so that a fundraising message is consistent with their past giving.

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