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 a single event. The truth is that if it’s not part of a well-planned campaign, it will fail.
We know that a strong response is based on someone seeing/hearing your name often. And, through a variety of marketing channels.
Think of the direct mail as the base. It’s the only marketing outreach channel that reaches everyone. Then, fund raisers need to include today’s technology as a companion to their direct mail campaigns. Consider social media and digital display advertising. One of the newest tools you can use is addressable geo-fencing.
Implementing these companion marketing channels actually enhances the value of the direct mail.
Is your agency is embarking on a fund raising campaign? Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your organization have the dollars 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? How can you share it?
- 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? Do they know that the payoff comes in the long run?
- Is your organization committed to direct mail fundraising as a process – not a single event?
- Can your organization handle the actual processing of donations? This includes 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?