Instinct vs. Insight

As a fundraiser you’ll have a lot of people offer you suggestions on how best to do your job.  Well intentioned board members, executive directors, program staffers, volunteers and supporters will, at one time or another, probably all give you suggestions (requested or not). Most of these suggestions are based on instinct.  Unless the person […]

If you’re going to hide the ask, just don’t mail at all (Tip #17)

Don’t hide your ask deep in your letter.  If you’re spending the money to send out direct mail solicitations, don’t be shy! Prominently and repeatedly make your ask.  In fact, some of the best direct mail fundraising letters not only make the ask several times in the letter, but also in the outer envelope teaser […]

Focus on user experience in the mail too, not just online (Tip #16)

Increase response rates by pre-filling your donors’ personal information on your direct mail reply cards.  It might be tempting to just leave these blank (it’s probably modestly cheaper than pre-filling), but don’t give in to the temptation! If you pre-populate donor name, address and ID code, that makes it quicker and easier for donors to […]

The value of personalization in your direct mail (Tip #15)

Personalization is key.  With the technology available today, there’s no reason you should be sending targeted direct mail to any donor or prospect and addressing it to “Dear Friend” (or anything other than the donor’s name).  That’s no way to start or build a relationship. But donor name isn’t the only level of personalization you […]

Communicating differently via mail with middle and major donors (Tip #14)

Middle and major donors require a different treatment in the mail than your regular donor base.  These donors tend to prefer longer letters.  Closed-face envelopes, higher quality paper, First Class postage (both on the outer envelope and the reply envelope), and true handwriting are all techniques you should use when soliciting middle and major donors […]

Direct mail as part of an integrated fundraising strategy (Tip #13)

Donors don’t behave in silos.  They consume media via e-mail, print, TV, radio, mobile, social media and face-to-face.  And recent studies suggest that in many cases, they consume multiple media at once. Direct mail, because it still captures the majority of responses, should be central to your efforts.  But leveraging an integrated multi-channel strategy will help […]