We may be living in a digital world, but direct mail is far from dead. In fact, nonprofit direct mail letters are one of the best fundraising tools in your arsenal. A study by YouGov found that for one-fifth of respondents, direct mail solicited their most recent donations (more than any other channel).
The key is writing a direct mail letter that sets you up for success. Here are a few tips to master direct mail letters (and why direct mail remains your best asset).
Why Direct Mail is Still Your Best Friend
As a nonprofit, every dollar you spend on marketing is a dollar you don’t spend on your mission. So it makes sense that you want the marketing channels with the most bang for your buck—and from a pure cost estimation, digital marketing seems like the clear winner every time.
In reality, direct mail (particularly direct mail letters) gives you a strong ROI, one that’s well worth the up-front investment.
Remind Donors of Your Organization
For one thing, nonprofit direct mail letters are a fantastic way to remind donors of your organization.
Even though the average person spends 209 minutes checking their work email each day and 143 minutes checking their personal email, the average person also receives 121 business emails per day. That’s a lot of emails—and a busy spam folder. The reality is that when you email someone, there’s a real risk of getting lost in the noise.
In order for donors to give to your organization, they have to think about you. What better way to do that than to give them a tactile, memorable reminder?
Keep Donors in the Loop
As a nonprofit, you have to engage your donors. Especially the Millennial generation, who give smaller amounts but give to an average of five organizations per year.
Fun fact: donors are more likely to read a piece of direct mail than information from other channels. In fact, while Millennials are known as digital natives, they’re actually the most likely of any generation to read direct mail.
So if you want to share critical information, nonprofit direct mail letters are the way to do it.
Donors Like Direct Mail
Plus, donors like getting direct mail.
Yes, really—73% of people say they like direct mail as an advertising method, and 59% of people say they prefer direct mail. Plus, 75% of people who received direct mail recalled brands easily, as opposed to 44% of people who received digital outreach. In other words, not only are they more likely to read direct mail, but they’re also more likely to remember the contents of that mail.
In short? If you want to engage your donors, give them the outreach they want to receive and send them a letter.
Tips for Success in Nonprofit Direct Mail Letters
Of course, not just any old letter will do. Your nonprofit direct mail letters should not feel like form letters, or like you’re just asking for spare change. People enjoy direct mail because it feels more personal, which is why the best direct mail letters are the ones that lean into that idea.
Oh, and a bit of clever design helps too.
Here are three ways that you can write better nonprofit direct mail letters and ensure your donors respond positively to each print run.
Personalize (and Make It Personal)
Again, people like direct mail because it feels personal. It recalls a bygone era of corresponding with dear friends via handwritten letters. Your direct mail probably isn’t handwritten, but it can still recall that idea through personalization and personal elements.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours personalizing letters. Thanks to variable data printing, you can input unique information on individual letters within a print run. This technology uses software with spreadsheets or databases to input unique information on each print item within the same print run.
That said, you can make the letter feel more personal even in the elements that stay the same between letters. The key is to make the donor feel as though they’ve received a letter from a person, not a vague entity. They’re more likely to connect with a person (and by proxy, with your organization).
Tell a Story
The best way to do this is by telling the donor a story.
As all fundraisers quickly learn, people don’t give money to cold numbers. They don’t care about statistics or broad causes. They care about helping people.
So, before you launch your direct mail campaign, collect some heartwarming stories from the people your organization has helped and ask for their permission to share their story.
Last but not least, be specific in what you’re asking for. All too often, organizations wind up leaving money on the table simply because they don’t tell the donor what they want them to do.
What that means depends on your campaign and what the letter is meant to achieve. Maybe you want them to renew their membership. Maybe you want them to contribute a specific dollar amount to a capital campaign. Maybe you want them to commit to giving a certain amount.
Whatever it is, tell the donor exactly what you want them to do—and make them the hero for following it through. The key is not to talk about your organization that much, but rather to show what the donor’s money will do to help others.
The Easy Way to Print and Send Nonprofit Direct Mail Letters
When you need to print nonprofit direct mail letters that make an impact, Las Vegas Color Graphics is the partner that makes it happen. From digital printing to direct mail, we handle all elements of the printing and mailing process so that you can handle your campaign with ease.
Ready to make your next campaign your best one yet? Request a printing quote today.