The Don’t Ask — Tell! Approach to Fundraising
To defray some of the costs for acknowledgement mailings, you might want to consider the following:
1. Insert a reply envelope (without a gift request);
2. Include a reply card for people who wish to receive additional information about a particular project or program emphasis you have;
3. Remind members or donors about the benefits of wills, bequests and year-end gifts. All of these ways are unobtrusive - and effective.
Yet another example of a “non-ask” communications strategy is to engage the media - through tools such as press releases and radio public service announcements. These can be particularly effective when integrated with a traditional prospecting appeal. The executive director (or designated spokesperson) can use the media tools to help the general public understand a particular organizational need and how it impacts the surrounding community. Such a move not only adds emphasis and credibility to the mailing, it also builds a stronger bond between the nonprofit and its key constituents.
I recognize some of these strategies may seem out of reach for cash-strapped organizations whose financial pro formas are built almost exclusively on mailings that directly generate income. However, when you view things from a long-term perspective - and I’ve had the opportunity to do so -- the expense is miniscule compared to the indirect income that can be generated.
Claude Grizzard, Sr. is the recently retired chairman of the direct-marketing firm Grizzard, which has primary offices in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, and Lincoln, Neb. For information, go to http://www.grizzard.com.