What Ever Happened to My Mail Carrier?
Mail can do more than its intended purpose
When is a newsletter more than a newsletter? When it gives the donor a reason and a means to respond with a gift. Or it invites donors to consider estate plans or honoring the memory of a loved one with a gift to your organization.
While a direct-mail letter needs to stay focused on the intent of the letter (to raise money), it can also reassure the donor that past giving has been well-invested, tell a former donor that he or she is missed, or invite a prospect to share in the wonderful successes you and your partners are making possible.
The humble thank-you receipt can introduce new programs, invite donors to go online for some specific benefits, share more success stories and give a donor confidence that supporting your organization was a good decision. And yes, it can fulfill that IRS requirement, too. But being legal doesn’t mean it has to be cold and impersonal.
When it comes to mail, if you’re stuck for ideas, look at the mail that you are getting and ask, “What piece most makes me want to engage with it?” Check out Who’s Mailing What! for examples of mailings that have stood the test of time and continue to deliver surprise and deepen relationships.
We are fortunate to have many ways to communicate with our donors, and this old dog by no means is suggesting that you use mail exclusively; instead, mix it up. Give your donors and friends multiple ways to hear from you. Some will gravitate to one method or another, and may tell you their preferences. But a wise fundraiser makes sure he or she is “in the room” when the donor has time to strike up a conversation, be that “room” the inbox, website, mobile device or mailbox.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.