Direct Mail

Knock Donor Communications Out of the Park
August 10, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I’ve written a lot about the importance of nonprofit organizations communicating with their donors, but that’s not enough. You have to do it well. You have to knock it out of the park. Sadly, many organizations fail at this. Their communications are OK at best and just dreadful at worst. That’s why I pleasantly was…

Change Your Fundraising—But Do it Right
August 4, 2016 at 8:00 am

As fundraisers, our passengers are our donors. And as most experienced fundraisers have found, even the best change can impact income—at least for a while. I mean, let’s be real—what’s bad about going from a boring, two-color newsletter to one that is four-color and has larger photos? In most cases, nothing. But it’s change, and, as humans, we can be a bit slow to adapt to anything different; and that can keep us from giving until we get comfortable with the "new."...

5 Questions to Shape Your Direct Response Fundraising Project
July 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm

"We need money! Can you send out an email/mailing/newsletter?" Have you heard some variation of that in your career? It’s tough enough doing a great job when you can plan a project, but when you have no time for the "luxury" of rumination, take a few minutes to answer these five questions to help your direct response fundraising be as effective as possible...

7 Cardinal Rules of Fundraising Writing
July 25, 2016 at 11:22 am

Fundraising is a funny profession. It requires you to learn a specific style of writing that's unlike any other you're likely to have learned—business writing, journalism or grant writing, etc. But if you go to the trouble to learn the conventions of fundraising writing, donors will reward you with more gifts. Larger gifts. And they'll…

Free Solutions for Your Direct Marketing Program
July 18, 2016 at 10:51 am

In a perfect world, all of our direct marketing costs would be marginal, so they scaled as we mailed, helping us to pick the exact right quantities and people every time. Of course, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to solve the social ills we are trying to solve as nonprofits. So that’s a…

Fundraising Lessons From Trader Joe’s for the Small Nonprofit
July 5, 2016 at 9:59 am

If your job title falls under the category of “one-person development department,” it’s very likely that, sometimes, you feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off. Ah, the pressure. How on earth is a smart development director to do it all? Brace yourself for the big news, folks: You shouldn’t want to focus on all of that stuff, because you don’t have to focus on all of that stuff. Just look at Trader Joe's...

8 Things You Should Never Do in a Fundraising Letter
June 27, 2016 at 10:51 am

It's never too early to analyze your last fundraising campaign and get ready for the next. Do you know how effective your direct mail appeal was during last year's holiday campaign? How many of your appeals went into the trash? How many resulted in a donation? Have you been afraid to even look at your…

Stop Making Stupid Email, Direct Mail Mistakes
June 24, 2016 at 9:49 am

Last week, my wife received an email appeal that demonstrates that fundraising professionals continue to make stupid email and direct mail mistakes. I’m not talking about fundraisers who have failed to use cutting-edge techniques. Instead, I’m talking about folks who have made s-t-u-p-i-d mistakes when it comes to the fundamentals of making a simple appeal.…

Congressmen Ask for 2.15 Percent USPS Rate Increase
June 17, 2016 at 8:00 am

After business hours on Wednesday night, a catalog association warned its members that USPS may get half of its exigency rate hike back. First Class postage dropped from 49 to 47 cents in April when USPS lost its 4.3 percent exigent surcharge imposed as a result of its losses during the Great Recession...

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...