Case Study: The Home for Little Wanderers
The response was outstanding. In the first year of this campaign, the response rate was more than 26 percent, with an average gift of more than $1,100 and gross revenue of more than $280,000. The cost per dollar raised was an incredible $0.01.
In the second year of the campaign, the response rate increased to more than 35 percent, despite a smaller target audience, with an average gift of more than $1,200 and similar gross revenue levels.
Direct-mail campaigns allow smaller nonprofits to reach out to many more major donors and high-value prospects than is practical by traditional face-to-face methods, at a much lower cost.
Major donors do have different needs and expectations compared to regular donors, and they also might be very different people in terms of age, gender and financial status. But they will support your organization through the mail, if treated appropriately.
A highly personalized, intimate approach will enhance response. Use closed-face envelopes and First Class postage, messaging that references the donor’s special giving level, and other subtle techniques that simulate true, personal correspondence. These are all simple, cost-effective tactics that even the smallest nonprofit organizations can implement in their fundraising programs.
Lynn S. Edmonds is president of L.W. Robbins Associates. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related story: Big Ideas for Smaller Nonprofits