Are you constantly reinventing your direct mail wheel? (Tip #20)

Find a control package (or several).  I’m always surprised when I talk to nonprofit organizations and hear things like, “we’re working on a new holiday package because our board thinks we’ve used the old one too long – they’re bored with it.” I’m all for testing.  Testing is important.  But before you begin testing, you’ve […]

What makes for a strong direct mail fundraising offer? (Tip #19)

A good offer is one that is specific, tangible, urgent and solvable.  Here are some examples: Your gift of $19.40 will provide holiday meals for 10 hungry, homeless, hurting people today.  OR Your $500 gift today will help us rush flu vaccines to 8 villages to save the lives of children like Eduardo.  Please hurry! […]

How to know when direct mail isn’t a good fundraising tool for your org (Tip #18)

Not all fundraising offers are made for direct mail.  Some causes just don’t lend themselves to direct mail.  This can be because your audience is so small you can’t get the economies of scale necessary to make direct mail a cost effective proposition. And some offers won’t work in direct mail because they’re uncomfortable.  We’ve […]

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 […]

This is why your special event doesn’t raise more money

  Do you ever wonder why your events aren’t raising more money? Why more people don’t make pledges and why pledge amounts are decreasing instead of increasing? It’s the economy, right?  That must be it.  People are hurting, so they aren’t giving as much or as frequently as they used to.  That’s got to be the […]

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 […]