3 ways to improve your nonprofit’s direct mail campaign

Direct mail can be a great way to boost fundraising.
Date Published
11/05/2015

Direct mail is a highly effective way to increase the number of donors who participate in your fundraising drives. While it can be a useful tool for collecting donations, a direct mail campaign has to be conducted in the right way. According to Fundraising and Philanthropy magazine, nonprofit organizations need to conduct their mailing strategies with the knowledge that donors are constantly bombarded by a large variety of messages, both offline and online. This, however, may actually help direct mail because it puts an organization’s message right in the target’s mailbox. This means the mailer has a good chance of making it into a donor’s home and making an influence. Here are some ways to improve your direct mail campaigns:

Segment your mailing list and target specific donors

A highly targeted campaign helps produce the best results, so make sure that your mailing list is detailed and focused. You don’t necessarily want to send information to a large group of people. Think in terms of a laser blast rather than a shotgun. Precision is key, according to Fundraising and Philanthropy magazine, and you need to divide your mailing list into segments so you can target the right people. All of this can be streamlined with donor management software. The data you collect on donors will help you divide your mailing list into easily targeted groups of people.

State your need and plead your case

When you write your appeal for the mailer, Nonprofit Pro stated it has to be extremely compelling. Be clear, concise and persuasive. You need to give donors a reason to contribute. Also, don’t use the same appeal for each segment of your mailing list. You divided it up for a reason – so you could market to specific groups of people. Use a different message for each group and make sure it aligns with the information you have chronicled in your donor management software.

Don’t let donors rest too long

If donors sit for too long, the chances of them donating again drop. Keep detailed records of which donors were sent direct mail materials and which ones weren’t. By compiling this information you can ensure that a donor doesn’t go too long without receiving some kind of message from your organization.

On the flip side, you also need to make sure donors aren’t inundated with requests for donations, as asking too much of donors can lead them to become annoyed with your nonprofit. One way to get around this is to send messages showing how their donations have impacted your programs and initiatives. Donors like to see progress and the more you remind them of how important they are with concrete examples of where their money is being spent, the more likely they are to provide your nonprofit with funds in the future. These communications can be handled with direct mail, but email is generally a more cost-effective method for showing results. Direct mail should be used to make appeals and requests of the donor.

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