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Donor Engagement

How to Enhance Direct Mail Fundraising Efforts for Your Nonprofit Clients



In the digital era, direct mail may seem like an outdated method of fundraising, especially when courting the tech-savvy Millennials that are increasingly on the radars of today’s nonprofits, and therefore the marketing agencies that represent them. But direct mail is still an important part of a comprehensive fundraising strategy, especially for nonprofits.

By employing a combination of time-tested content creation strategies and digital era data analysis, agencies can maximize the success of direct mail fundraising initiatives by encouraging a more involved and connected donor base. 

Stronger Content Means Stronger Engagement

Like any piece of good writing, the first step to creating effective direct mail collateral is to know your audience. Millennials, ever distrustful of large corporations, tend to donate to organizations that they feel will have a more direct and significant impact on their cause.

When describing the goals of your client’s organization, be brief, direct and to the point. It’s also important to show exactly how a donation will be used and what its immediate value will be to your client’s organization.  

Telling a story about a specific instance where your client’s nonprofit was able to make a difference is a great way to create a deep and immediate connection with your donor base. An anecdote humanizes your client’s organization and shows a specific instance in which they were an invaluable help to the people they serve.

The Power of Data and Personalized Content

Deciding what stories, designs, or specific details to include in your client’s direct mail materials can be tricky, especially when there are so many variables. Rid yourself of the guesswork by using data from their previous direct mail efforts.  

Look at what content or styles they used before and highlight what worked in the past. Update anything that did not create engagement. It might be as simple as mailing out requests less frequently or appealing to donors in a less formal tone. The more you can learn from your client’s previous mailings, the more focused and successful future requests will be.

Creating data driven and personalized print collateral will pay off in the response rates. This attention to detail and the effort put forth into humanizing the work you do on behalf of your client (like including anecdotes about their organization) can go a long way in terms of helping Millennials feel more connected to your client’s cause.  

One of the most powerful ways to use personalization in your agency’s direct mail marketing strategy is to include a specific, personalized ask amount for each donor.

This targeted approach takes into account not only what each donor is capable of giving, but also what they are actually willing to give, and is proven to be far more effective than open-ended ask amounts or determining ask amounts based on arbitrary formulas.  

The Value of Facebook: All the Likes

Even with succinct messages, heartfelt anecdotes, and data-backed personalization, a direct mail collateral piece needs to be part of an overall, multi-channel campaign. Supplementing direct mail with digital assets like email and social media posts is key.

With a billion users, Facebook is one of the most widely used social media outlets worldwide. Posting content on Facebook, including videos, tagged photos, and hashtags has the potential to engage Millennials far more effectively than print media alone.

Posts on social media provide points of contact and chances for interaction not available from direct mail. The posts also keep your client’s nonprofit and its mission in the minds of their donors, making it more likely that they will actually donate. A full list of social media integration tips that transform engaged followers into active donors can be found on our blog.