8 Smart Mailing Tips for Small Organizations
Smart Tip No. 5
Ask for referral names and addresses. I generally caution not to mix messages in your appeal, but at year-end, you have a once-a-year opportunity to get the attention of your donors. (Remember, 'tis the season of charitable giving.) On a separate insert, ask them to also share a few names of friends and family who may be interested in learning about your organization and possibly joining your family of supporters in 2015. (Notice it's not instead of a gift — it's along with a gift.) Explain what you'll do with the names to break down the natural barrier of not wanting to subject your closest friends to exploitation. I recommend that you promise to only send them one letter about your work and invite them to support you, state that you won't add these names to your mailing list unless they respond, and assure your donor/prospect that you won't mention his or her name in the material you send.
Smart Tip No. 6
Make your letter look like it's a personal letter from a friend — because it is (or should be). If possible, use a monarch-sized envelope and stationery. Avoid a window envelope at all costs. Use a First Class stamp and preferably a commemorative one (that captures attention and says "personal" far more than a meter or even the ubiquitous flag or nonprofit stamp). Put your name and street address in the return address, not just a corporate name and Post Office box number. Remember, you are writing from your heart, so make sure it looks like a "from the heart" letter, not a mass-produced, impersonal one. You may be preparing the mailing in your office off your desktop printer, so make sure the size and type of paper you choose feed through without a lot of problems, but avoid a white offset No. 10 envelope if you can. At this time of year, a letter screaming "boring" — or worse yet, "junk mail" — doesn't stand a chance of standing out in the crowded mailbox.