Direct Mail

Maine Governor Criticizes Humane Society, State Environmental Nonprofit
June 16, 2016 at 9:00 am

About a year ago, Maine Gov. Paul LePage threatened to withhold $500,000 in state funding from a nonprofit charter school if it didn't remove its president, Mark Eves—who also served as Maine's speaker of the House. His tactics worked that time, and he has continued to make controversial comments and play hardball with nonprofits in order to try to get his way...

Hope or Fear—Which Powerful Emotion Should You Use?
June 15, 2016 at 9:00 am

Picture a year-end appeal. The goal isn’t met. Time is running out. Your appeal urges donors to act right away, or bad things may happen. "Can’t we keep it upbeat? You know, focus on the good stuff?" a board member will ask. "We know that’s more effective, right?" Well, I don’t think I do know…

How to Apply the Pareto Principle to Direct Mail
May 26, 2016 at 10:32 am

I’ve reminded you all about the Pareto Principle, and written about Pareto2. It’s all well and good in theory. But how can it be applied in practice? One of the most obvious applications is when targeting and budgeting in direct mail. If I am working on a direct-mail pack to my house file (people who…

When Data Is Not the Fundraiser's Friend
May 19, 2016 at 11:46 am

Good use of data can help you create messages for your donors that are more relevant, interesting—and effective. But data can betray you in embarrassing ways. Like it does in this letter from an organization I support. (I'm hiding its identity because I don't want it to be embarrassed in front of its peers.) Here's…

Don’t Invoice Me When You Want a Gift
May 19, 2016 at 11:43 am

I’ve been stewing for a while about a certain kind of solicitation I’ve seen. I’ve hesitated to write about it, but I get more annoyed the more I think about the damage this thing can do. Want some examples? This is an email I got last December (good organization, bad solicitation). And this tactic made…

True or False: Debunking Direct Mail Myths
May 12, 2016 at 11:39 am

We all have preconceptions and beliefs that shape our daily decisions and actions. When it comes to marketing decisions, it is especially important to identify the origins of our information. Research can help to track down evidence to ensure our campaigns are based on facts, not misconceptions. The wisdom of this is highlighted in research…

The Sexy New Way to Fundraise? Trust Your Mail
May 6, 2016 at 9:56 am

So have all the cool kids moved to digital? Is mail so yesterday? Sometimes it seems like that’s what I’m hearing. And I often feel like a grandma, warning people not to move everything online. But grandma or not, I’ll keep doing it. I know the arguments: Yes, email is cheaper to send. Yes, online…

Make Your Newsletter a Moneymaker
May 5, 2016 at 8:00 am

Yes, I know how much it costs to send out a newsletter. But I also know that done right, a newsletter is a moneymaker for your organization. It’s a win-win—more net income and more opportunities to build loyal donors. In other words, a newsletter is one of the remedies we can apply to dwindling donor-retention rates. Done well, a newsletter can be a dollop of glue to bind your donors to the organization...

The Power of Offline, Low-Tech Personalized Donor Communications
April 6, 2016 at 10:35 am

You might find it a bit odd that the CEO of a fundraising technology company might be writing about old-fashioned methods of personalizing communications. I recently had an in-depth discussion with a prospective customer regarding the extent of bulk personalization that is attainable via mail merges, through the hundreds of fields of standard and custom…