Pulse: Raising Money by Mail
FS: What's the most important thing to remember when launching a fundraising mail campaign?
SS: Who you are mailing to, and matching the message to that audience, is just as important [as the letter]. Grouping donors into a few categories such as nondonors, lapsed donors, major donors and event attendees can help you target recipients more effectively … help you reduce your postage and printing costs and increase your response rates. Once you have a list of just donors who you want to mail to, separate them based on their last gift size.
SR: I see too many organizations that say, "Well everybody else is doing direct mail; we need to do direct mail, too." And they don't really think through why they want to do it or what outcome they want, and so they don't really have a good way to measure success. If you're very clear why you want to send out an appeal, and you know who you're going to send it to, and you craft a good message that's going to appeal to the people you're sending to, then you're setting yourself up for success. If you get into knee-jerk fundraising … you're going to be disappointed.
Joe Boland is copy editor and staff writer for the Target Marketing Group at FS’ parent company, NAPCO. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org