Back to School ... Back to Acquisition
The stores are full of spiral notebooks, No. 2 pencils and laptops, so it must be “back to school” time. This is also when many nonprofits begin to think about acquisition again and wonder how they can profitably add new donors to their files.
I’ve received my first two 2012 calendars from nonprofits seeking donations. They are hard to miss, given the oversized envelope and contents that clearly promise more than just a letter.
But whether you mail a calendar or a letter, or send an e-mail, these few reminders can help acquire more donors who will have long relationships with your nonprofit.
Get them in
It’s been said before, but it’s too essential to ignore. If donors aren’t intrigued enough by the carrier envelope of your direct mail or the subject line of an e-mail, it doesn’t matter what else you include. They won’t see it. Given the low response rates of most acquisition, keeping costs low is essential. Trim here and skimp there, but never “go cheap” on your envelope or think any subject line will do. Creativity has to be amped up to max when designing and/or writing these two elements. While a closed-face, quality stock envelope with a commemorative First Class stamp is powerful, it’s generally not cost-effective for acquisition. So find something between that and the plain white offset No. 10 window envelope — and make donors want to open the envelope or e-mail.
Remember the tsk of acquisition copy
Successful acquisition copy isn’t first and foremost about educating. It isn’t about creating a mailing that everyone on your staff loves. It’s about getting people who don’t know anything about you (and may not care to change that fact) to give donations. Everything in the mail package or e-mail/landing page combo has to drive toward a donation. This is not the place to include (or link to) your corporate brochure or annual report. Brag about your low overhead with a pie chart on the back of the reply card or in the footer of the e-mail; the letter or the e-mail copy is about motivating people to donate.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.