Many people ask me about fund raising by direct mail. Some agencies do this very well and raise tons of needed dollars. Other charitable groups think raising money by direct mail is an event, not part of a well-planned campaign and they fail.
Here are some questions you need to consider, if your agency is embarking on a fund raising campaign.
- Does your organization have the capital available to invest in a test mailing for fund raising by direct mail?
- Can your agency bear the financial risk of an unsuccessful test mailing?
- Are the issues involved in your organization’s work compelling to a broad market?
- Can you distinguish what your organization does from other similar groups that serve the same constituency? Can you identify something dramatic or special about what you do?
- Are your organization’s mission and strategy clear enough for you to package?
- Is your organization well established? Do you have name recognition?
- Are there programs you can point to as being successful?
- Does the Board and senior staff of your agency understand that direct mail fundraising requires investment, that some individual mailings may lose money and that the payoff comes only in the long run?
- Is your organization committed to direct mail fundraising as a process – not a single event?
- Can your organization handle (either current staff or hiring an outside firm) the actual processing of donations, maintaining the donor file and keeping it up-to-date?
- Is the Board / staff ready to service new donors?
- Are you looking for an annual campaign or a membership campaign?
- Does your agency run a Special Appeal or Donor program?
- How do you decide whether to do this in-house or use a consultant or direct marketing firm?
- What does your organization need to do to protect your list / donors? Do Not Mail lists?