Special Report: Fundraising 101 Direct Mail
I like to brand each appeal with a distinct theme, for example, Annual Fund, Member Drive, Research Appeal, etc. This way, each appeal has its own look and feel — all within the umbrella of the rganization’s identity standards and brand image. It gives your program variety and provides donors with plenty of choices.
Think of each appeal as a unique product that donors might choose. It’s similar to the way commercial organizations appeal to different segments by creating brand extensions. One customer might prefer Coke Classic, but there are others who want caffeine-free, Diet Coke, Coke Zero or some other variation that appeals to their unique needs and tastes.
These days, people are taking segmentation to an even higher level by using data overlays (wealth ratings, age, home ownership, etc.) to identify new segments and tailor special offers and messaging to them.
Someone who is 50-plus years old and has given to your organization for eight to 10 consecutive years is a prime candidate for a planned-giving offer. People who give through multiple channels — mail, Web, special events — can be treated differently than those who just give through the mail.
5. Get personal
Every message you send to your donor should sound like a one-to-one conversation. Talk to the donor as if you know her, and are cognizant of her interests and giving preferences. I like to have a personalized salutation on
my letters, and I often use the donor’s name and state and/or town name in the body of the letter.
To me, a letter should look like a letter — not a brochure. Some organizations like to have pictures on the letter or use more than one person to sign it. I prefer to design letters to look like real letterhead, and have one signatory. It makes the letter look like a personal, one-to-one communication.