Funds for All & All for Funds

Welcome to my blog! I'd like you to consider this an interactive space for sharing information, successes, ideas, strategies, and links to help us all raise more funds for nonprofits.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Getting record returns for a mailing

I'm happy to report that one of my year-end mailings is garnering record returns for the nonprofit organization. Of course, many factors play a part in the success or failure of a solicitation mailing, but one of them, I believe, is bringing together the right content and visuals to the right list.

The secret here is know your house list well. It's not a static commodity. Studying your database, keeping detailed notes, and reviewing the notes and other characteristics of your donorbase periodically helps tighten your focus. Who are these people you're writing to? What do they want to know about your agency? And what moves them to give?

So much of the conventional wisdom about direct mail is dated and generalized. For example, knowing that 90% of the audience into which we mailed this record-return letter was religious, but that that figure was down from previous percentage for that donorbase, helped to make the decision to modify the religious tone, so as to be more inclusive of non-religious people in the donorbase. That extra percentage may have responded more vigorously than before because the appeal was broadened to make them feel more included.

In times like these, when every edge you can get can make a big difference, it pays to analyze your donorbase often and to try new things.

Happy year-end mailings and returns! (And don't forget to send the follow-up letter a few weeks after the main mailing to those who didn't respond. Email me for wording ideas.)

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