In my many years of experience examining direct mail appeals that failed to thrive, I have come to realise that there are several common ailments at the root of this problem. By discussing them here today I hope to improve the health of your direct mail program and ensure your next appeal flourishes.
Ailment 1: An underdeveloped proposition
The proposition is the lifeblood of your appeal and should be the focus of your efforts in the planning stages. You need to show the problem you are trying to solve and make your story come alive. Spend time sourcing case studies, statistics or images and make sure you allow enough time to get the appropriate sign off.
Ailment 2: Egocentricity
When you use your appeal letters to brag about your organisations achievements, you not only bring into question your need for funds, you also alienate your donors. Your donors need to know that they are the catalyst for your past and future achievements. They need to feel empowered to make a difference and appreciated for their past support.
Ailment 3: Not consulting a specialist
If using external suppliers such as writers, designers, printers and mail houses, you need to make sure they have non-profit direct mail experience and a sound understanding of the fundraising world. Many of the best suppliers will be in high demand so you will need to book in your job early. While it might be tempting to do everything in-house, it is not always as cost effective as it seems.
Ailment 4: Dirty data
It is very important that you keep your data clean and in shape. Mailing people who have moved, are deceased, or have requested not to be mailed is both poor form and a waste of money. The same goes for multiple mailings to the same person or household.
Ailment 5: A lack of touch-points
Increasing the number of times a prospective donor comes across information about your appeal will increase the likelihood that they will donate. Therefore, it is not enough to just send a letter and hope for the best. You need to create additional touch-points and support the appeal through other channels. In addition to internal channels such as your own website, newsletter etc, think about what other channels you may be able to access. Think about the places your donors like to visit, the activities they like to do and the publications they read.
Looking to grow your fundraising income in 2018 and beyond?
OKP can assist your organisation with:
Direct Mail Appeals
Major Gift Programs
For more information about the fundraising and development services provided by
OKP Philanthropy & Marketing, please phone 1300 721 799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org