Direct Mail: How Much is Too Much?
2. Mail your donors as frequently as necessary to meet your financial needs. When you present a giving opportunity to your donors by mailing an appeal, you’re actually empowering them to take part in a wonderful exchange of values. You might receive a gift, and your donor will know that she has helped provide part of the solution to a need.
What’s important here is the fact that you’re honoring your donors by giving them choice and control over their relationship with your organization. It’s not the frequency of appeals that’s most important, it’s the legitimacy and integrity of your fundraising needs.
3. Donors need a variety of communications. You will have greater success if you vary the tone and content of your communications. Appeal letters serve one purpose and one purpose only — raising money. Other communications — such as newsletters and gift receipts — can be highly effective education vehicles to explain your mission and values, and to affirm and thank donors for their support.
4. Don’t let complainers influence your strategic decisions. Of course, donors who complain deserve to be treated with respect and to have their concerns addressed. But never allow the complainers to drive your fundraising decisions. Never!
The best defense against those who complain about appeal frequency rests on how much net revenue is being produced by like segments of your donor file and your donor-loyalty rate. These two measures must be viewed together. Don’t fall into the trap of defending your mail program solely on the amount of net revenue being raised. You must also review donor loyalty or continuation rates for a complete picture.
5. Use facts to fight against personal preference and bias. Facts are friendly, and we should embrace them. Know your facts, and arm yourself with a short list of key indicators of performance so you always have a ready defense for that senior executive or board member who wants to impose his personal preference for how your fundraising program should be run. My list includes the number of appeals sent to most donors, year-to-year net revenue figures and the year-to-year donor loyalty rate