Direct Mail Personalization Pays Off
As a nonprofit, every penny spent on direct mail needs to be accounted for. It also needs to be justified. If making changes to your direct mail campaign cannot increase your ROI, then there is no reason to make the change. However, if you find a simple way to increase your ROI, you should jump all over it. That simple thing is personalizing your direct mail. Many nonprofits send personalized letters with “dear [name]” and maybe the address block, but you can do so much more than that now.
And personalizing your direct mail pieces can help you in more than one way. Here are five ideas to try to increase responses, donation amounts and more.
- Personalize the reply. If you can personalize not just the letter, but also the reply piece, you make it less time-consuming for the recipient to respond. The easier it is to respond the better your response rate will be.
- Base asks on the previous donation. Another benefit of personalizing the reply piece is that you can personalize the donation amounts based on the last donation. For instance, if the recipient last donated $200, make the first option $200 or more, then step the options up to $250 and so on. Increasing donations per donor is a great way to build up your ROI.
- Suggest multiple channels. Providing donors with their preferred response medium is easy for you and will increase your response. Give donors multiple ways to respond, such as by phone, mail, email or website. Have you thought of accepting texting donations? The donation per text may be smaller, but you may get more donations that way. List the donation method they used last time first on your mail pieces to personalize their experience.
- Gather more information. The more information you have on your donors the better you can personalize. If you don’t have much to start with, use what you have and gather more information about them from each mailing.
- Include a “P.S.” Make sure that your copy is conversational and highlights an individual that has benefited from your organization. Providing a real person who the donor has helped by donating in the past provides a great incentive to help another person this time. You should always include a postscript (P.S.) line and include their name, as many people only read the headline and P.S.
Direct mail offers a variety of ways to track your responses. Working with your mail service provider, you can code the reply pieces based on list, version or both. That way you know which list had the best response and which offer did better. You can also track your mail through the post office to know when the mail pieces have been delivered. This can provide you with information on when to touch base with them on a phone call or email. In a staggered direct mail campaign, you can use the delivery date as a start of clock on your intervals.
Direct mail can be a great way to introduce your organization to new donors who are not familiar with you. Direct mail is not viewed as intrusive and can be kept for a period of time without the issue of being forgotten. No wonder it’s such a successful fundraising tool for nonprofits. There are even ways for you to profile your current donor list to find prospects who are like them. Are you ready to get started?
Summer Gould is Account Executive at Neyenesch Printers. Summer has spent her 31 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as the industry chair for San Diego Postal Customer Council. You can find her at Neyenesch’s website: neyenesch.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.