Rockville, Md.

Sure, e-philanthropy is hot, but most nonprofit organizations still rely on direct mail as their fundraising workhorses. And the outer envelope is the wrapper for your all-important ask. It’s the first thing recipients see, feel and interact with.

As such, it requires a well-reasoned strategy that depends a lot on an organization’s mission, target audience and competition in the mail. Something that works for an advocacy group might not be right for a health organization. One thing that worked 10 years ago might still fly, while another favorite tactic could flop. It’s a testing game for each organization.

Direct Mail Dos and Don'ts Sept. 20, 2005 By Nancy Guy Freeman Are your direct-mail fundraising efforts floundering? Wishing you could increase response rates or improve donor retention? Are you representing your organization effectively? Maybe it's time to review some obvious -- and not so obvious -- best practices of direct-mail fundraising: Be creative, be clever, and try new ideas -- but do NOT be deceptive in your copy or packaging. Scandals among some of the biggest and most respected nonprofits have created enough concern and suspicion in donors' minds -- make sure you keep your message and creative honest and straightforward. Mail OFTEN.

More Blogs