Because of their nature, non-profit organizations need to prioritize fundraising. Some, upon considering using non-profit direct mail, might balk. While some marketing methods, like sending an email, picking up the phone, or visiting a business in person don’t cost a dime, direct mail is an investment. And non-profits need to keep a close eye on their resources and ensure those resources go to where they need to.
Non-profit direct mail fundraising is simply too powerful a tool to be dismissed. With consistently high ROI, direct mail can make a major difference in helping your non-profit top up its revenue without having to worry about increased marketing costs at scale. Here are some great tips for putting direct mail campaigns to work for your own non-profit.
Leverage Your House File for Non-Profit Direct Mail
When it comes to direct mail, most campaigns focus on one of two lists of addresses. The first, your house file, has all the names of current donors, those who have contributed in the past. This is in direct comparison to your prospect file, which are people who you might convert into donors in time.
Choosing the house file to focus your efforts means that you’re contacting people that already know who you are and what you do. That’s a leg up from a marketing standpoint, as you have a higher chance of eliciting another donation from these folks than not. Maintain at least a yearly direct mailing campaign. At the very least you’ll stay at the top of their minds; at the best, you’ll pad your ROI by a significant margin.
Don’t Ignore Your Prospecting
It’s true that mailing to your house file might be a better bet than plying strangers for donations. Yet don’t lose sight of prospecting activity, either – not when you could end up uncovering a gold mine if you convert a few. In essence, as long as you make back what you spent in a prospecting mail campaign, you’re golden.
In other words, if you can offset the cost of mailing by collecting some new donors, you’re in good shape. Of course, these folks are now in your house file, so you can continue to solicit them in the future at your leisure. If you don’t have much experience in prospect mailing processes, be sure to ask for expert help from someone with experience.
Not Every Mail Needs to Ask for a Donation
This one always confuses people. Why engage a direct mailing campaign for your non-profit without soliciting a donation? Isn’t this just an exercise in futility, not to mention a good way to flush the cost of a direct mailing marketing campaign right down the drain?
Let’s face it: bombarding your donors with requests for funding is a sure-fire way to turn them off. Instead, use direct mailing materials to build a relationship between your organization and its donors. Sending out direct mail newsletters can help you build that relationship in a way that doesn’t involve any activity that looks like begging.
Pepper Your Content with Appropriate Details
There are four critical elements that must be blended into the content of your direct mailing efforts. These include:
- Personal messaging
- A casual tone
- More than one call to action
- The entertainment factor
Fundraising letters come from an organization. At the same time, they’re written by an individual within that organization. Keeping the tone casual and conversational to capture that human element. Making your copy entertaining engages the reader further. Finally, the request for a gift or a donation has to be clear. It should also appear more than once in the piece to drive the issue home.
Make Donors Feel Special
Non-profits are already making a difference in people’s lives. Your own status as one proves that, as you wouldn’t be taking the time and energy into providing the care and needs of others otherwise. Donors need to feel like they’re part of that process. They might know you’re doing good work out there, and your direct mailing letter to them should put the donor first, not your organization.
In this case, flattery will get you everywhere. Point out how every bit of good your non-profit has done is reliant completely on generous donations. Paint donors with a broad brush as the unsung heroes of your organization. Making them feel special will encourage them to donate once more.
Simplicity is Key
Short but sweet is the name of the game when it comes to sending out non-profit direct mail. You know a bad mailer when you’ve seen one. Poor wording and long-winded, two-page mailers that ramble on without getting to the point will only get your mailer filed into the wastebasket.
Instead, focus on simplicity. Keep it short and keep it easy to understand at a glance. Short paragraphs with sentences of 20 words or less make it easy to read, and that means your mailers are more likely to be read completely instead of just leaving them guessing as to what you’re asking for.
Keep Records of Your Results, Good and Bad
Direct mail has lots of benefits for non-profits. But you can’t fully leverage those benefits without keeping meticulous records of how each campaign unfolded. Knowing your cost/benefit scenario and your total profit or loss from a specific direct mail campaign helps you decide whether to use it again in the future. Putting in the effort lets you compare campaigns and pull out the things that work and jettison the things that don’t.
Supercharging Your Non-Profit Direct Mail Campaigns
Non-profit direct mail campaigns are often one of the best ways to drive the success of your organization. Bringing awareness of your cause to others can lead to the type of donation activity you need to help that cause.
If you’re looking for the perfect direct mail partner, Las Vegas Color Graphics has worked with non-profits for decades to produce direct mailing campaigns that maximize your ROI. Talk to our team today for a free quote on our direct mailing services. Let us show you how we can help you turn up your fundraising success!