10 Creative Strategies to Cut Through the Clutter
5. Be intelligent, in the mail.
This tip is courtesy of Joe Gomez of Federal Direct. The cutoff date for all mail having the Intelligent Mail Barcode is May of 2011. It’s a long way off, but don’t forget that some donors hold on to reply envelopes for a very long time. Your organization could be mailing reply envelopes now that won’t be returned to you until next summer.
If you haven’t switched over to the IMB yet, you could be risking deliverability problems with your reply mail. For details on updating your reply envelope barcodes with the IMB, go to ribbs.usps.gov and click on the “Intelligent Mail Services” link.
6. Extend renewal messaging window with midyear membership upgrade offer.
The most powerful word in fundraising is “renew” because it’s the message that generates the most net revenue in our programs. Organizations develop membership-based programs that give them a basis for renewing their contributors once a year in multipart membership-renewal campaigns.
Throughout the rest of the year, members may receive special appeals, but in strong membership-based programs the special appeals typically are not as productive as the membership renewals. So one can’t help but wish we could simply mail membership renewal notices all the time, allowing us to use the powerful membership renewal vocabulary more often.
While we can’t do this all the time, we can create a platform for using that kind of powerful membership-focused case for support more than once a year, through a midyear membership upgrade campaign. At the halfway point after primary membership renewal, test a midyear membership upgrade campaign against a conventional special appeal.
- Take a democratic approach to your messaging (“Every Member Matters”).
- Value and emphasize an incremental increase in membership level (i.e., increase membership by $15 or $20), though you need to test this.
- Give members a compelling issue-based reason to participate; then, if possible, boost it with a matching gift challenge.
In addition to raising more money than you might raise in a traditional special appeal, there are attractive longer-term implications of the midyear membership upgrade. When your next annual membership renewal cycle begins, all the people who participated in your midyear membership campaign are now starting the renewal process at a higher membership level.
7. Downgrades are nothing to look down on.
As development and direct-response professionals, we are trained to upgrade. But in this economic climate, we need to rethink that.