In the Information Age, social media and other digital avenues now constitute the majority of fundraising efforts. However, direct mail remains a viable component in the overall marketing strategy of any nonprofit and should not be overlooked when it comes to helping your nonprofit clients maximize the effectiveness of their fundraising.
Though technological innovation has changed the way organizations raise funds, many Americans still find direct mail to be more personal than email and social media. But running a successful direct mail marketing campaign can be a delicate process. Often, it comes down to just a few critical details in terms of whether your campaign succeeds in making an impact with donors or not.
1) Personalization is Paramount
Far too many direct mail campaigns take a vague, one-size-fits-all approach. A broad marketing strategy may initially appear to save time, money and effort, but in the long-term, such a strategy can fall flat in terms of financial returns for your client.
Creating personalized print collateral for direct mail provides your client organization’s donors with the sense that they are involved in a two-way conversation, as opposed to feeling as if they’re being “talked at.”
When you and your nonprofit client work together, take the time to understand your donors and craft a specific message for them, you ensure they will feel more connected to your client’s cause. Highlighting the donors’ importance over that of the organization is one proven approach to building this type of personal connection.
2) Keep the Message Clear and Concise
With direct mail, there’s no shortage of competition for donor interest and very little time to catch their attention. In order for your client organization’s message to stand out from the rest of the day’s mail, it’s a good idea to keep the messaging as simple as possible, while front-loading your mailers with the most vital information.
You should also try and steer your client away from convoluted messaging that might induce apathy or cause the donor to lose interest. Successfully crafting the message of your direct mail campaign is a fine line to walk. Keeping simplicity in mind at all times, it is also very important to tell a compelling story that sparks donor interest and makes people feel connected with your nonprofit client’s cause.
3) Utilize data to understand your customers
As Experian points out, having a partner with strong analytics capabilities is another key to mounting a successful direct mail campaign.
It is important to understand that just because a donor may have the capacity to give a larger contribution does not mean they have the willingness to do so. On the other hand, customers with less capacity may be willing to donate at a higher rate. When you ask for the wrong amounts, you run the risk of leaving money on the table by asking for too little, or even worse, souring the relationship and losing the donor’s interest.
Test mailers are another vital tool in verifying that the personalized aspects of the direct mail marketing campaign are taking hold. Too often, organizations will fail to test their print campaigns, which can result in repeatedly making the same mistakes. Running a test campaign enables your nonprofit client to analyze everything involved with its campaign, including letter length, content, timing, and even the style of the envelope.
Predictive software such as ExactAsk makes it easier to understand your donors and figure out exactly what they would be willing to contribute. This type of software uses hard data to produce personalized ask amounts. Combining this tool with previous knowledge of donors can enable you to maximize fundraising efforts for your nonprofit clients.