Cost-Saving Tips for Direct Marketing Programs

Cost Saving Tips for Direct Marketing Programs
Date Published
05/02/2016

Direct Mail has long been the primary method for nonprofit fundraising. But, in today’s ever-expanding digital landscape, it’s also one of the most expensive channels. That alone scares some fundraisers away from using it to raise money for their organization. But it shouldn’t. The fact is that a direct mail appeal is still the single-most effective means of raising funds, retaining supporters, and adding new donors. The attractive ROI warrants that it be included in your marketing mix. You just need to plan and execute in the most cost-effective way possible. Here are 5 tips to keep campaign costs down.

  1. Target, Target, Target!
    Targeting your audience is the best way to ensure that you keep direct mail costs down. Don’t waste postage and printing costs on people who have no connection or interest in your mission. Direct your efforts toward people who are most likely to support you. You can grow your target lists thoughtfully and strategically.
  2. Keep Data Clean
    Along the same vein, you don’t want to waste valuable budget dollars mailing to bad addresses and deceased prospects. Clean files are a vital part of a successful and cost-effective campaign. Don’t neglect list hygiene. You should NCOA your house files every quarter to capture any donors who have moved and remain compliant with the USPS move update requirements to qualify for discounted postage rates. Also consider timely address standardization and deceased processing. This will help ensure that every dollar you invest in your campaign is money well spent.
  3. Understand Postal Regulations and Rates
    Check to see if your organization qualifies for nonprofit postage mail using these discounts, review the requirements that go along with the lower rate to ensure that your direct mail appeals meet the acceptable guidelines. Your agency or letter shop can help determine if your solicitations are eligible for nonprofit rates.
  4. Bulk Print
    A little pre-planning can go a long way toward helping you keep your direct mail costs down. The components that make up your direct mail appeal should be purchased in bulk whenever possible so that you get the lowest price per piece. Envelopes, inserts, or buck slips and even the letter/reply forms can be purchased in large quantities so you spend less on a unit basis. Consider printing enough for multiple campaigns at once if you know your creative won’t change. But remember, this needs to be carefully planned to ensure that the components make sense for the various time frames you will be mailing. Be careful not to preprint deadlines or other time-sensitive information. Execution of this type of plan needs to be flexible enough to meet the needs of all campaigns.
  5. Use Wise Design
    Keep in mind production costs when designing your direct mail solicitation. It’s always more expensive to print a two-page letter than it is a single one, and the more color you add to each component, the more you’ll spend. Use standard sizes whenever possible and consider creative that doesn’t necessitate “bleeds” or ink running all the way to the edge of the page. Consult with your agency or printer to make sure your design is as cost-effective to produce as possible.

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