My Mailboxes Runneth Over
I was out of the office for a few days, and came back to a stack of requests from nonprofits, seeking donations. In addition, I received several e-appeals from the more frugal organizations. (This isn't a response to my giving habits; I always give via check because I want to encourage them to mail to me. So I have to assume the "forced" e-communication is an economic decision.)
I noticed a few things as I looked at the mail and e-mails, not the least of which is that mail volume is picking up. February and March seemed very light on appeals, but in April and early May, the mailers are back with a vengeance. This isn't scientific - just my observation. But with the nation's thoughts turning to the election (or tuning out messages altogether if the person is overwhelmed or unhappy with the choices), we are going to have some stiff competition in the fall. So getting our requests in the hands of our supporters is paramount all year long. Fourth quarter may not pick up until after the general election. Just thinking out loud here. . . .
Teasers and subject lines
Maybe it's just my imagination, but it seems a lot of nonprofits are very creative with their e-mail subject lines, but relying on the same-old, same-old for envelope teasers. Both of these elements have the same purpose - to get the recipient to look "inside" and read your offer. Direct mail is still a powerful source of income, and it deserves better than simply regurgitating teasers (and design) from 10 years ago. I know that some of these are repeated year after year and they have worked over and over, but let's keep testing. Finding a more successful way to say the old message could break through the subconscious of numb supporters and mean some seriously increased net income.
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.