A Donor’s Response to Direct Mail

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A Donor’s Response to Direct Mail

money-652560_640.jpgIt is hard to choose the right media as it pertains to fundraising.  Research shows that printed direct mail campaigns continue to be more effective prompts for giving. In fact, direct mail is more effective than email, social media, radio or TV. If you‚Äôre not including direct mail in your fundraising efforts, you may be missing out.

But not all direct mail is created equal. To get the best results from your mail campaigns, keep these tips in mind.

  • Stop asking for money. It‚Äôs okay to ask for it, but be sure that you reflect the value of the donations being made. A recent study polled hundreds of alumni from all types of universities and found almost all respondents view an email, phone call or direct mail piece from their alma mater as an ask for money BEFORE they even open it. Whether you‚Äôre a college reaching out to alumni or any other type of organization communicating with their donor base, you must develop a meaningful communications program that reaches beyond asking for money.
  • Make it personal. No one ever wants to feel like a number. This is especially true when receiving communications from a charitable organization. When you have personal data, use it to personalize your mailings. Address the envelope by name, greet the donor by name, and ask for the donation using first names. If you‚Äôd like to call the donor by name in other places, consider the ‚Äúthank you‚Äù line and even the postscript.
  • Make the appeals easy to read. We all know that older people tend to be bigger donors. That‚Äôs why it‚Äôs important to make your messages easy on older eyes. Make sure you use large print. As a rule, never go below 12 point type. Allow for plenty of spacing between lines and paragraphs. And keep in mind that about 8% of adult men are functionally color blind so avoid layering colors when communicating essential information, especially red, yellow, blue and green. Black type on a white background is the safest bet.
  • Don‚Äôt reject postcards. Among mail piece types, postcards are most likely to be read; 52% are read by recipients. Postcards might be the best way to go. They get attention and build awareness without the need to open an envelope.
  • Always A/B test. Use your best performing piece as your control, and then start testing ways to beat your control. Experiment with responses on everything from inserts to letter length, to time of mailing to the envelope. For best results, limit your tests to a single element so you‚Äôll know exactly how each change affects success.
  • Don‚Äôt hide behind a generic envelope. If you must use an envelope, be clear about who you are and what you represent.  This may improve your chances of being opened.

Nurture your top direct-mail donors. You want to treat your top donors with extra care. One way of doing this is using Variable Data in all of your correspondence.  You can also share updates with them and acknowledge their past giving history. A higher quality envelope and insert might be well worth it. They are your best source of future donations.