The 10 Commandments for Optimizing Fundraising Success, Part 1
One was mailed to 500,000 people and raised $23 million. Another was mailed to 8,234 people and raised $6.3 million. And the third was mailed to 489 people and raised $57,400.
Think about it: When you get mail branded by a bank or organization of little interest to you, you toss it in the recycling bin, right? But if you get an envelope with nothing but your handwritten address, you're intrigued as to whom it's from and open it.
Once inside, it's all about resonating with the donor. Again, context plays a vital role. You can send a seven-page letter or a one-page letter as long as it's in the right context.
The keys to context, according to Gaffny, are to speak to the recipient on his or her terms and speak to the moment in a compelling way.
3. You have five seconds to be successful — maybe
"If your outer envelope doesn't drive the person inside, you're screwed. And the same goes for your subject line," Gaffny said.
Pay attention to the "A" pile theory of direct marketing — when people go through their mail, they have three piles:
- A pile — I must open it.
- B pile — I might open it.
- C pile — Where's the waste basket?
You must do everything you can to get to the A pile. So ask yourself, "If your life depends on your package being opened, what would you send?" Gaffny asked.
For him, it's a no-brainer: a plain white envelope with a handwritten address, stamp and no return address. When you don't know who it's from, you open it. It reaches the A pile — you have to open it to find out who it's from.
However, context again comes into play depending on if you are trying to appeal to high-passion donors or low-passion donors. To make the A pile for high-passion donors, show the brand on your OE, but hide the brand for low-passion donors. Give high-passion donors treats, like premiums or membership offers, and low-passion donors tricks, like a card with their names on it.