Direct Mail

At Long Last, I'm Now the Target Audience
March 1, 2005

This might turn out to be a rant. But you see, I’m getting a lot of fundraising appeals I can’t read because the type is too small, the paragraphs are too long, and the copy is too intensive and technical.

I’m eligible to critique this mail, not because I’ve been in the business for 42 years but because I’m now the target audience.

Fundraising With Heart
March 1, 2005

A one-week-a-year campaign that raises $200,000 over three years? Not bad.

More aggressive is increasing your development goal for that campaign to $100,000 in a single year.

Oxfam America
March 1, 2005

The horrific tsunami in the Indian Ocean late last year brought instant and gratifying responses from myriad governments, private donors, the military and nonprofit organizations from around the world. Among them was Oxfam America.

Oxfam America was founded in 1942 by a group of Quakers, social activists and Oxford academics who called themselves the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief in response to the plight of refugees in Greece.

Mining for Monthly Sustainers
February 15, 2005

After generating more than $29 million in FY04 via direct mail -- a 16 percent increase over FY03 -- the American Diabetes Association set an aggressive DM goal for FY05: Take in $31.3 million, a 9 percent increase over FY04. Quite a lofty goal, that. But Patty Ruch, director of direct mail and database marketing for ADA, says that by incorporating testing at both the conceptual and component levels, the organization was able to bring in more donor dollars, more consistently. ADA first had to determine if its mission was strong enough to launch and maintain a Monthly Sustainer Pledge Program. Much to its

Ask Yourself About Your ‘Ask’
February 15, 2005

For any fundraising appeal, the ask string is critical in communicating your financial needs to a potential donor, large or small. For the Nature Conservancy, an aggressive direct mail tester of new creative concepts, copy approaches and formats, ask-string modeling has made the one-to-one dialogue with prospects much more relevant. “Ask-string modeling identifies individuals with the means to give and their philanthropic tendencies,” says Lisa Steen, senior fundraising manager for new-member acquisition. The Nature Conservancy mails 22 million to 24 million pieces and attracts 250,000 new members annually. “The technique helps acquire donors at a substantially higher first gift with potential to upgrade more

Simple Strategies for Picking Lists
January 4, 2005

SOf all the elements that go into a direct mail effort, the most important single purchase is the list, says direct marketing consultant Paul Goldberg. There are two ways to order lists, he says: Use a broker or do it yourself. “By broker I don’t mean an organization,” Goldberg explains. “Basically, all brokerage companies are the same. They have access to the same mailing lists; they charge the same prices; their data cards are more or less the same. Instead, choose a list broker for the specialist working there.” Ask this question: Does he or she know the market and do the hard work

Lighthouse International
January 1, 2005

All acquisition packages should be this effortless to navigate and still maintain an effective degree of emotion, credibility and urgency. New York’s Lighthouse International, which raises funds to help blind and impaired-vision individuals secure the skills and resources they need to live independent lives, is crystal clear about its mission, its needs and its prospects’ needs.

USPS Rule on First-Class, Standard-Mail Rates Leaves More Questions
November 9, 2004

The U.S. Postal Service’s final rule change to its Domestic Mail Manual, which amends standard-mail postage rates, including nonprofit rates, will take effect June 1, 2005, according to the Oct. 27, 2004, issue of the Federal Register. The new rule modifies a proposed rule appearing in the Federal Register in April. That proposal called for an “exclusive-purpose” test in which “personal” information about an addressee would be permitted at standard-mail rates only when “advertising” or “solicitation” is the exclusive purpose of the piece and personal information is included solely to increase the effectiveness of the ad or solicitation. The proposed rule would have been

Sierra Club Packs It In
November 1, 2004

Direct mail is the only advertising medium that enables the sender to create a personal message. I did not say “personalized” — as in having the recipient’s name plastered all over the place, such as with return address labels or on a sweepstakes entry form. In this instance, “personal” means that the letter writer can make an intimate and emotional connection with the reader. As freelance copywriter Bill Jayme said, “In direct mail — as in theater — there is indeed a factor at work called the willing suspension of disbelief.”

Piecing It All Together
November 1, 2004

Multi-channel fundraising is simply the idea that an organization uses more than one medium simultaneously (mail and telephone, for example) to conduct fundraising campaigns. Integrated fundraising is merely the process of making sure these campaigns are designed to work synergistically with one another.