9 Tips For Non-Profit Direct Mail Success

Marketing Monday - 9 Tips for Non-Profit Direct Mail Success

Welcome to another edition of Marketing Monday! This week we share 9 tips for an effective non-profit direct mailing campaign.

#1 – Every Non-Profit Should Be Mailing their House file.

There are two main types of direct mail: house file and prospecting.  House file mail is mail you send to your current donor file – those who have already made a gift to your organization at one time or another.  Prospecting mail is sent to a list you purchase or rent… in other words, a cold list of people who haven’t ever (or recently) given to your organization.

#2 – Prospecting Mail Isn’t for Beginners.

Successfully using prospecting mail is an art that takes time and experience to learn.  Your goal with a prospecting letter is to break even… to make back the cost of the mailing, so that you can add the new donors to your house file, where they will become profitable.  If you send out a poorly worded prospecting letter, or mail the wrong list, you could lose a significant amount of money.

#3 – Treat Your List Well.

Your direct mail donor file is as good as gold for your non-profit.  In order to keep it that way, you have to treat it with respect. It means that you shouldn’t only send asks to your list… you need to send some cultivation mailings, like newsletters, updates, thank you letters and holiday postcards to your list to keep it fresh and let your donors know that you see them as more than just their wallet.

#4 – Don’t Use Direct Mail Unless You Are Prepared to Measure and Test.

Successful direct mail fundraising is built on the foundation of testing and measuring.  This is particularly true for prospecting mail.  If you want to send out a certain letter to 100,000 prospects, first test the letter on 5,000 prospects randomly selected from that list.  If it’s

#5 – Think About Sending a Preprinted Envelope

 When you engage in direct mail fundraising always have a preprinted envelope included in the materials that you send. This makes it easy for recipients to donate. The printer that you choose can normally handle this for you. You can choose to use a postage paid envelope or let the donator place their own stamp.

#6 – Use Variable Data in Your Mailings

Variable data allows you to make your collateral personal to the recipient. Variable data and imaging with direct mail is an easy way to have each item unique. You will maximize your ROI by customizing your mail pieces because you’ll be getting the right message in the right hands at the right time, increasing your chance of a powerful impression and, most importantly, action.

#7 – Proof, proof, proof your materials

Creating the right material for a direct mail fundraising campaign does not have to be difficult, but the finished items must be professional and represent quality. Always proof materials before they are printed to prevent any mistakes that are obvious. It is far too common for organizations to send out items with misspellings, poor punctuation, or other basic mistakes.

#6 – Acknowledge Donations

Whenever someone donates, whether it is through your direct mail fundraising efforts, online, or in another way, always acknowledge their donation. A thank your postcard or letter lets the donor know that their donation was received and that your organization appreciates their support. This also provides a personal touch that people greatly appreciate.

#9 – Link Your Mailings with Your Website & Social Media

Link your direct mail fundraising efforts with your website and your social media accounts so that these are all connected. Include all of the web addresses and page information on any letters or other fundraising materials that you send out so that recipients can connect with you and make donations according to their personal preferences.

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