April 1, 2014  |  Brianna McKinney

4 Nonprofit Fundraising Best Practices Using Direct Mail

While email fundraising is certainly growing in popularity, most nonprofits still use direct mail to communicate with their audience and raise funds.

Far from being the killer of direct mail fundraising, email has actually grown into a useful partner technology for many nonprofits, used to raise awareness and keep in touch with donors while direct mail is used for fundraising.

Direct mail fundraising campaigns aren’t free, and because of their cost, it’s vital to have a concrete strategy in mind before you start your campaign. In this guide, we cover four best practices for nonprofits utilizing direct mail to fundraise.

1. Segment your mailing list

One of the best ways to maximize your earnings from a direct mail campaign is by segmenting your mailing list into three different groups: donors, non-donors that belong to your organization, and cold prospects.

Since previous donors are highly likely to donate again, it makes sense to mail them a letter that focuses more on thanking them for their commitment than to approach them as you would a cold prospect.

By highlighting the results their previous donation led to and reminding them of the value another donation could create, you can generate the highest possible amount of donations from your mailing list.

2. Conduct small test mailings to assess profitability

To maximize your investment, it’s important to test your direct mail campaigns with a small audience before you increase the scale (and the cost) of your fundraising.

Break your mailing list down into small, randomly generated segments and use each one to test a different mail piece. You may find that one mailer generates a response rate that’s far higher than any of the others.

By testing different mailpiece content and messaging such as startling statistics, heartwarming success stories, and direct calls-to-action, you’ll quickly discover the style and format of direct mailing that best suits your organization’s goals.

3. Offer your recipients multiple ways to donate

Not all of your donors will have a checkbook. Since the Internet now plays such a big role in commerce and fundraising, many of your donors may prefer to donate online than write a check for your organization.

Give your recipients multiple payment methods, ranging from old-fashioned checks to Internet donation forms, bank transfer information, and fundraising apps. By offering several ways to donate, you’ll reach the largest possible audience of donors.

4. Always thank donors (no matter how small)

People donate to nonprofit organizations for many different reasons. Some feel an emotional or personal attachment to your group’s mission. Others give for religious reasons. Some donors even give money to reduce their tax obligations.

No matter what reason people have for donating to your nonprofit, it’s imperative that you thank them for their contribution. Thanking donors isn’t just a nice thing to do; it also increases the likelihood of them making a second donation.

The small cost of thanking donors is entirely repaid in good will and future donations. If you need a refresh on thank you letters, check out 5 Elements of a Good Nonprofit Thank You Letter.

Topics covered in this insight: nonprofit, direct mail, donation thank you letter, fundraising

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