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.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Raising last-minute dollars at year's end

New media can provide last-minute appeal platforms or vehicles for follow-ups to mailed solicitations. Text messages, social media pages, Twitter posts, and email blasts are tools that can cut delivery time and add another "ping" to your year-end fundraising campaign.

It's a little late for DIY action, if you don't already have vehicles in place, but anyone can easily learn to add a Facebook page or Twitter account for their nonprofit organization. And for the next campaign, there are businesses that assist nonprofits in using mobile and social media. Here are a couple to look into for an early start next year:

Mobile Giving

Constant Contact


The best way to reach the most important donors on your list? Get all the staff and volunteers your can get together for a holiday card writing party and hand-address and sign some cards to thank donors for their past support. Don't forget to include a reply envelope!! You might be surprised at the returns gratitude brings.