Direct Mail: How Much is Too Much?
6. Most recent to give, most likely to give again. This fundraising truism is worth repeating. The donor who gave most recently is the donor who will give again the soonest. Don’t exclude recent givers from your direct-mail appeals. If you do, you’ll only be reducing the amount of money you’ll raise.
Remember, your donors love your organization. In fact, they love your organization so much they’ll give you their hard-earned money. Honor your donors by communicating with them frequently. Share specific information with them about how you’re using their gifts to accomplish the mission they want to see accomplished.
7. Fundraising is an emotional endeavor. Donors give because their hearts are moved and because they trust you to fulfill their heart’s desire. Just look at the response this year to the tsunami and hurricane disasters — donors responded overwhelmingly to the tragedy unfolding on their televisions. Your fundraising program should be designed to tap this human reservoir by frequently communicating your needs, your mission and values, and the positive things you want to get done.
Look at every appeal, every newsletter and every gift receipt as a heart-touching event that links your donor with the cause he urgently wants to support.
8. Fundraising is a high calling. Those of us who design and manage fundraising programs are engaged in a wonderful profession that helps meet urgent needs. It’s a great privilege to give donors the opportunity to extend the grace of giving.
If you view your job from this perspective, you will be less concerned with the frequency of appeal mailings and more concerned with how best to empower your donors by enabling their giving.
Timothy Burgess is co-founder of the Domain Group, an international direct-marketing firm serving nonprofit organizations in North America and Europe. He’s been raising money for others for 27 years. He is vice chair of the DMA Nonprofit Federation Advisory Council and chairs the federation’s ethics committee. He can be reached by at email@example.com or 206.834.1480.