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Does Direct Mail Work?

Are you missing out on opportunities to raise more money by not using direct mail to reach donors?

Raising the most money to fund your organization’s mission is your one of your top priorities, right? Like many fundraisers, you’re always on the lookout for your next get-rich-quick-for-free success story. This is completely understandable – part of your job is keeping fundraising costs low so more of the money goes toward your cause. While email, Instagram stories, and TikTok videos can be cheap or free to use, it’s been proven that multichannel donors are worth 234% more than online only donors – meaning combining digital messages with direct mail communications can raise you more money!

So, yes – direct mail does work for nonprofits! But, for it to be truly successful, we recommend following these few tips:

Send Appeals More Than Once a Year
Are you among the 89% of nonprofits that send direct mail fewer than twice per year? You could be missing out on a great opportunity for growth. “Resting” donors is a practice we are all aware of, and all want to do. It feels pushy or greedy to repeatedly ask, right? But the truth of the matter is that your donors want to give. As long as you are asking, thanking, and reporting you can continue to ask your donors throughout the entire year. Communicating more often with your donors allows more good to happen, so remind them often of the difference their generosity can make!

Include Direct Mail Stewardship
Create a stewardship program by sending personalized cards to your donors. While of course a thank you card should be sent after a donor makes a contribution, celebrating other important dates can increase donor generosity as well. Detailed in a report shared by Network For Good, one organization sent a personalized postcard for Thanksgiving to 50% of their donors. At the end of the year, those who received the postcard were 206% more likely to donate than those who didn’t. Direct mail doesn’t have to only be used to send appeal letters!

Make a Plan to Reactivate Lapsed Donors
What do you do if you notice a donor hasn’t made a gift? Cross your fingers and hope a check comes in at the last minute? For 77% of small nonprofits, that is the full extent of their reactivation plan. Putting a plan in place to connect with donors more often, and to reach out to lapsing donors is a way that you can ensure better retention rates and more revenue. Whether it’s a reminder letter telling them how important they are to the mission or a cultivation email message, keeping donors you already have is almost always much cheaper than trying to win over new ones. Speaking of new donors…

Start Sending Welcome Notes
It’s always nice to be recognized when you go somewhere new – the same can be said for recognizing new donors! A welcome kit for new donors may be one of the most important mailings you send – it could be the difference between a one-off gift and a budding relationship. Include a sincere letter expressing your gratitude, an insert or brochure that gives a comprehensive overview of your organization, and a soft ask. This is just enough information to make them feel appreciated, but not so much that it’s overwhelming. Set yourself up for success with a welcome kit!

Save yourself money sending direct mail this year with AppealMaker! Click here to see how easy it can by getting your FREE account today! An affordable direct mail solution is at your fingertips!


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