It’s OK to Repeat a Message
I’m not going to write about monthly donors for a change. Instead, now is the time to get as many one-time gifts, which will help feed your monthly donor program next year.
The year-end appeal season is here. The clock is ticking… The mail pile is growing… The inbox is overflowing… The question is: How do you stand out from the crowd? The second question is: Must you stand out from the crowd, or is it more important you get my attention at the right time?
I’m a Baby Boomer. I’m a prime direct mail donor target. I already give to a ton of nonprofits, both one-time gifts and monthly. So, how do you go about getting me to make another gift? Especially now?
If my mail pile or inbox are any indication, you already know the answer. You send an appeal. You send an email. You remind me to do something with an email sent to non-opens.
Donors are busy. Donors need reminding. Donors forget.
So rather than having to come up with a brand-new appeal or approach every time, it’s OK to repurpose. It’s OK to repeat. It’s OK to send an appeal reminder. It’s even OK to send a follow-up or a copy of an appeal you sent earlier. Not to everybody, of course, but to your best donors. Those who are most likely to give.
This fundraising technique is called: Send a REMINDER package. Send a REMINDER email.
It’s not new, and I’ve successfully used it for some of my clients. It really alleviates fundraiser stress, and it even helps save some cost because you can use the same story for two appeals. All you must do is make a small tweak — a different message on the outside envelope and a special message on the appeal.
Here are just a few examples of how I’ve seen some organizations do this successfully. The fact that they keep repeating it means it works.
One of the organizations I work with saw a very simple, cheap follow-up package to their annual calendar raise even more than the original calendar itself! It was astounding, especially because they had never tried it before.
It’s especially powerful, and it’s simple. For example, your outside envelope could include a teaser like:
- Did you receive your 2020 calendar?
- It’s not too late to double your gift!
- A gentle reminder…
And then on the top of your appeal letter on the inside, simply add a handwritten looking message like: “If you’ve recently made a gift, thank you! If not, please consider a donation to support the <animals/children/clients> today.”
Donors will not remember what they received before. They may not remember they’ve already given, so you may get a second gift. It’s a very cost-effective way to follow up on a package, and you can absolutely take the same approach with emails. A simple reminder message on top of your original email does the trick. One less message to worry about in this very busy time. Happy asking!
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.