Nearly a decade and half into the new millennium, direct mail is still the workhorse for fundraisers. And while it’s true that multichannel fundraising is a must, direct mail is still a vital piece to acquiring, retaining and cultivating donors. The key, as in any fundraising medium, is engagement.
Take, for instance, MSPCA-Angell and the League of Women Voters (LWV). In its annual, year-end special event campaign, MSPCA-Angell utilizes direct mail to renew donors by engaging their passion for their pets. Meanwhile, LWV includes a popular, hard-to-resist engagement device in its direct-mail acquisition control to engage new supporters and get them to join and donate to the organization.
Renewal/Retention: Turning Pets Into Stars
There are few things more valuable to fundraisers than donors who renew their giving each year. So when a nonprofit organization unearths a campaign that routinely draws response and renews donors, it’s a proverbial fundraising gold mine.
Boston-based animal-welfare organization MSPCA-Angell has such a campaign. Developed more than 15 years ago, the MSPCA-Angell’s Holiday Tree event has become a donor-retention specialty. The event, which coincides with a multichannel fundraising appeal spearheaded by direct mail, allows donors to send in photos of their pets, which are in turn made into ornaments and hung on one of three holiday trees at the Prudential Center in Boston’s shopping district.
Then, there is a Tree Lighting Ceremony free of charge to donors to attend so they can view their pets’ ornaments displayed on the trees.
“People love their pets, and they love showing off their pets,” says Anthony Genovese, CEO of full-service direct-response agency DaVinci Direct, which partners with MSPCA-Angell and won FundRaising Success’ 2011 Gold Award for Fundraising Excellence for the Holiday Tree campaign. “This gives them an opportunity to help an important cause, to really connect with the organization in a personal way, and to honor their pet at the same time.”
Related story: MSCPA-Angell 2013 Holiday Tree Campaign Creative