Fundraising Direct Mail That Drives Online Response
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how Aretha Franklin would be appalled at the way in which nonprofits track (don’t track) online responses and gifts to direct-mail fundraising and membership appeals. In addition to other facts, I stated that the average gifts online are typically 25 percent to 35 percent higher than those by mail (and often twice as much) — one of the main reasons why nonprofit organizations should promote, encourage and track online responses to their mail.
Now, some of you old-school direct-mail fundraisers out there may doubt that online gifts are 25 percent to 35 percent higher and may be thinking, "Just let them respond by mail. It’s easier to track." But we all need to realize how people use the Web these days — including many older baby boomers and members of the G.I. generation. Your donors and members have come to expect that anything they can do offline, they should be able to do online.
A 2009 W.K. Kellogg Foundation study revealed this: 50 percent of people who donated to a nonprofit, or took some kind of action, would not have done so without first checking the organization’s website — and more than 65 percent of all donors visit an organization’s website every time they give. Seeing that those statistics are two years old, my guess is that these numbers have only increased. Another statistic I recently overheard that may surprise membership professionals: Close to 40 percent of new members to nonprofit organizations are joining online!
NOTE: We must never lose sight of the fact that it’s all about choices these days, no matter what generation you are marketing to. Your mail must allow recipients choices on how to respond — online, mail, phone or even in person.
So, to take advantage of this evolving popularity of responding online to direct-mail appeals, let’s look at some strategies that you can implement immediately that will make your mail more engaging and encourage your prospects, donors and members to give, join and renew on your website.
Utilize that often wasted space on the back of your OEs. The first thing people do when they decide to open a mail piece is turn it over. You have an opportunity to get the recipient’s attention for a few more seconds. Add a message like: Connect with us online at www.yournp.org. Or, depending on the audience and appeal, use: Make your gift online — it’s fast, easy and secure!
Body copy of letters
Use copy such as: Please take a moment right now to renew your "Anytown Museum" membership — via our secure online-giving form at www.anytown.org/renew. Or, complete and return the enclosed membership renewal form in the envelope we’ve provided.