Non-Profit Direct Mail

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1 Guide to a Successful Non-Profit Direct Mail Campaign

2 The face of fundraising has changed in recent years a change which non-profit organizations have acutely felt. The internet has made access to donors easier than ever, especially for smaller non-profits, as new Kickstarter-style sites crop up every day. The problem is that these sites, which reach individuals through social media marketing, remove a lot of the personal care that used to surround non-profit fundraising and funds distribution. The personal, customized touch is what keeps donors involved with your organization. Your best and most powerful tool to build and maintain these relationships is direct mail. How can you retain your current donors while reaching new ones, all while keeping the communication as personal as you can? That s why we re here. This guide will share recent statistics surrounding direct mail marketing, fundraising, and lead nurturing campaigns. Then we ll show you very specific ways to tell your story, touch the hearts and minds (and wallets) of donors, and convert those donors into lifelong supporters. Ready to get started?

3 ImportantNon-Profit Direct Mail Statistics Perhaps the most important of the direct mail initiatives you ll take this year involve letters to donors and potential donors. Of the non-profit organizations surveyed by Nonprofit Marketing Guide in 2014, 85% said they sent direct mail appeals. 20% sent those appeals once during the year. 29% sent fundraising letters twice during % sent quarterly fund raising appeals. 5% reached out to current and potential donors every month. 9% knew direct mail was sent but did not know how often. These statistics cover only the fundraising appeals sent. Other communication, such as newsletters, postcards, and thank-you notes are not included in this information. This means 85% of non-profit organizations understand how important a direct line of communication with donors and prospects really is when making a donation appeal.

4 Newsletters are also an important way to keep your donors and supporters in the loop. Whether you have earth-shattering news or just want to let everyone know how their funds have changed lives, a print newsletter is a popular way to do so. As important as this may seem, 31% chose not to send a print copy of the newsletter in % sent a quarterly report to donors. 17% sent print newsletters twice per year. 10% sent an annual newsletter. 5% sent one newsletter per month. 12% know they sent newsletters but don t know how often. Understanding the role of the newsletter in your direct mail efforts is important. This is one of the many tools you have available to you for building and maintaining relationships with supporters of your cause.

5 Types of Non-Profit Direct Mail Donor Letters Your appeals for funds are the backbone of your direct mail efforts. To make a lasting impression, there are a few things you should do. First, tell your story. How did your organization come into being? Who do you help? What successes have you seen in recent years? Next, make those letters about the donors. Invite them to be a part of the changes. Tell them how their contributions will help, and give specifics. Will you build a new building with their help? Maybe you ll send volunteers around the world to effect change on a global scale. Finally, ask donors to share their stories so you can show the difference giving can make. Believe it or not, some donors will really want to tell their story. Their reasons for giving may become your most compelling fundraising tool yet. Would potential donors not identify more with those who already give than with the person asking for money?

6 If your donors prefer to remain anonymous, you can still keep them involved by mailing regular surveys. Ask them what they d like to receive in return for their support. Give them a chance to share their concerns with the direction of your non-profit s attentions. They ll be candid with the cloak of anonymity. You can use their answers to provide experiences they can believe in. And when they believe in your endeavors, they ll be more likely to dig deeper during your next campaign.

7 Gift Catalogs We already know that catalogs are some of the most powerful direct mail pieces you can send. Did you know these catalogs are also powerful income generators for non-profit organizations? People still enjoy receiving catalogs, flipping through them, and even making purchases, especially during holiday seasons. Several of the world s largest non-profit organizations, such as Heifer International and the American Red Cross, have seen incredible returns from their gift catalogs. In fact, Save the Children has seen catalog sales grow by more than 400% since the first was released. The only difference between the catalogs these organizations produce and those released by retail organizations is that purchasers send goods where they re needed instead of receiving them in their homes. Remember, while many love to receive catalogs in printed form, they still often make the final purchase online. UNICEF says that 75% of their online orders can be traced to the direct mail piece they sent. Be sure to include an online version for those who prefer to give online.

8 NEWSLETTERS In between donor appeals, you can share your stories in other ways. A newsletter is the perfect way to stay top-of-mind with your donors and prospective givers. These can be scheduled throughout the year or sent out only when you have big news to share. Every newsletter should have the goal of furthering your story. Make the work you re doing a narrative so that recipients will want to follow along. Whether you do this through a series that focuses on the work you re doing or you showcase specific volunteers and workers as they change the world, your supporters will love every piece of news they receive. Don t forget to include appeals in your newsletters, too. While they may not be as targeted as the letters you send, you may still pique the interest of quite a few prospects.

9 Believe it or not, even a postcard can tell a story. Postcards Sometimes you ll want to send out mail just to remind your donors and prospects that you re still doing good work. A postcard is the perfect way to keep the focus on your endeavors. Believe it or not, even a postcard can tell a story. Remember that your goal is to maintain your relationships and foster a stronger tie between your donors and your organization. Through images, well-placed taglines, and even short text on the back of the card, you can keep those donors involved and up to date.

10 Making the Most of Your Direct Mail When beginning a fundraising campaign, there are five important rules to keep in mind. These rules will add power to your requests for donations, resulting in greater success. Call Donor by Name No one ever wants to feel like just another number. This is especially true when receiving communication from our alma mater. Personalization is absolutely crucial here. Address the envelope by name, greet the donor by name, and ask for the donation with the alumnus s or alumna s name. These three places are the most important. If you d like to call the donor by name in other places, consider the thank you line and even the postscript.

11 Call Donor You Simply calling the alumni by name won t make the letter feel personal. Take as many chances as you can to address them as you, as well. In other words, don t say Donors will make a huge impact on students lives, say You will make a huge impact on students lives. That additional personalization will go a long way. Instead of recipients viewing the donors as separate, they ll picture themselves taking part. Call Yourself I Continue building the relationship by making yourself a part of the conversation. Rather than telling potential donors how the school will use the money, say I d like to tell you how your gift will be used, or I would like to invite you to contribute. In doing so, you become an approachable entity someone just as real as the donor. That personalization goes a long way toward creating rapport.

12 Thank the Donor If the recipient reads to the end of the letter, they already deserve your thanks for their attention. Don t wait until they dig out their wallets and checkbooks to show gratitude. That sincere thank you at the end of your letter might just be what the potential donor needs to take the next step.

13 Ask with the Word Give This is a little bit of psychology you ll use here. Believe it or not, many people are likely to follow a directive when they don t have to read between the lines. In other words, say I hope you ll continue your support and give $50, or Please contribute with a monetary gift today. These words work much better than asking for support, because support can be defined in so many different ways.

14 Tracking Your Success Without some way to track your success, how will you know if direct mail is still the best way to reach your donors? Of course, as contributions roll in, you ll get some idea. What about those who need more information and aren t ready to give just yet? Three possibilities are available, so just choose the one that makes you the most comfortable. Self-Addressed Envelope Donors should always have a way to reach out to you, even if you re not asking for contributions. A self-addressed envelope in each letter or newsletter opens that line of communication. You ll know that donor or prospect received your mail, opened it, read it, and interacted. To boost mailed responses, don t be afraid to ask questions that prompt an answer. Surveys, calls for opinions, and just a call for reactions to your latest news will encourage recipients to respond.

15 Tracked Phone Calls Tools like Call Rail make it possible for you to create customized phone numbers for use on your mailed items. These phone numbers can be created for individual campaigns or even each donor. When anyone calls the number, you ll know which donor or which campaign. This information helps you better target future communications, which then leads to higher conversion rates. Personal URLs It is the age of technology, after all. As with the customized phone numbers, a personal URL tracks users who respond to your mailing campaigns. These donors and prospects will be taken to a website landing page with more information and a way to contact your organization. Your non-profit organization now has a huge head start on your next direct mail campaign. If you need help, we re always here with years of experience in direct mail marketing. Don t hesitate to reach out.

16 AMi, a Certified Woman-Owned Business and accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, is your one-stop shop for direct mail marketing. From postcards and flyers to coupons and QR codes, we can help your business with any direct mail solution.

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