Looking Back at 2013's Last Week of Fundraising, Part 2
Last week, I looked at emails received between Dec. 26 and New Year's Eve. Clearly, I need to step up my giving, since Larissa Peters at Catholic Relief Services sent me an impressive listing of more than 70 she received in that six-day window. A big "old dog thump-of-the-tail" in appreciation to Larissa!
True confession time: My direct-mail stats are even less impressive. In fact, I only received six pieces over those five mail delivery days. With less ability to time delivery precisely, it is more risky to target a mailing for year-end, unless a nonprofit is willing to pay First Class postage to have some level of confidence that the mail will be delivered on time. However, what I saw in my mailbox represented numerous missed opportunities.
Two of the mailings were acquisition. One had no nod to seasonality and used the now-overworked (in my opinion) teaser promising that it would "never ask for another donation again" if I would only give now. There were photos of children in need of the nonprofit's services on both the front and back of the envelope, as well as on the letterhead and in the rather copy-heavy brochure that was included. I suspect this is a control (or control wanna-be). I would love to know how this acquisition mailing performed compared to those at other times of the year. My personal response was that a letter, dense information brochure, even-more-dense program-related brochure, insert for me to sign and send back, and a reply card asked a lot from a nondonor at year-end.
The second piece was a 9-inch by 12-inch envelope from Boys Town with winter artwork on the front. (Now that I live in a warm climate, I find pictures of snowmen endearing; that wasn't the case when I was shoveling the stuff.) This envelope announced three — no, make that four! — free gifts enclosed and had a personalized teaser, also talking about the gifts inside. Sure enough, when I opened it, I found a wall calendar, a pocket calendar, two other versions of a calendar, address labels and a certificate of appreciation.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.