Auditing Your Creative – Improve Your Results with 5 Key Steps

DMW Fundraising: Auditing Your Creative – Improve Your Results with 5 Key Steps
Date Published

Spring is here, and with it comes an important fundraising season. Many nonprofits plan their biggest mail campaigns in March or April, as a last big push to renew members and generate income before their fiscal year end, or to coincide with other fundraising events. So, now is the perfect time to take a good look at your current direct mail appeal package and ensure that you’re making the most of this critical revenue-generating tool. You can optimize your results by making sure that your appeal package follows these five rules.

  1. Keep It Simple: Make sure all the components of the package are clean and uncluttered, and reflect the personality of your organization. It’s okay to use bold graphics, but don’t overwhelm your message with unnecessary images or corny taglines.
  2. Focus on the Donor: The letter copy should make the donors feel central to the organization and should remind them how their money is being put to use. The letter should be less about the organization and more about how the donor allows the organization to achieve its goals. (A quick tip: count the number of times the words “you” and “we” appear in your appeal. If “we” appears more, go back to the drawing board.) And always personalize the salutation.
  3. Write for the Skimmer: Use bold typeface, underlined phrases, and related graphic images that catch the reader’s eye. Keep the paragraphs short and easy to read. Make sure there’s plenty of white space and resist the urge to write long descriptions.
  4. Don’t Forget to Ask: This might seem obvious, but if you don’t specifically ask for something, you’re probably not going to get it. Ask the donor for a specific dollar amount (or use a customized array) based on the last gift given, or suggest a gift amount for a new prospect.
  5. Close with a Call to Action: Always include a PS to close your letter. Studies show that after reading their name, most people jump to the PS, then return to the beginning of the letter. The postscript should restate the case for giving and compel the donor to take action.

Of course there are lots of factors that determine the success of a direct mail fundraising appeal, but if your letters include these five elements, they’ll be sure to pack a more powerful punch.paign strategy, creative development, forecasting, budgeting and results analysis.

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