Five Easy Tips to Improve Your Fundraising Letter

1. It may be obvious, but be sure to ask for a specific gift! Don’t assume your donors know what you want them to do...make it clear to them. And, give your donors a choice on how to give. Include a reply envelope for gifts via mail, and list a secure website for web-based donations.

2. Keep your list clean. Run it through NCOA at least quarterly, and correct the addresses of donors who’ve moved. For years I received fundraising letters (the nonprofit shall remain nameless) at my house addressed to “Roger Crimpton, or current resident.” Neither my husband nor I are Roger Crimpton, and we've lived at that address more than 15 years. This is wrong on many levels. First, this nonprofit didn’t care enough about Roger Crimpton to find out he had moved. Second, even if he DID live there, it’s insulting to add “or current resident.” In effect that's saying “We’re not really interested in you as a person. We just want to get this letter to a warm body.”

3. Don’t call your donors “Friends.” If you’re not personalizing your fundraising appeals, you’re missing out. If someone has been giving to your organization for years, you’re insulting them by not calling them by name. For your next appeal, test the power of personalization on half your list, and compare the pull rates.

4. Be specific. Donors want to feel like they’re making a difference: Tell the story of a person your organization has helped. Describe how your contributor’s gift provided a scholarship for a needy student. Paint a picture of the beautiful wilderness your organization is helping to preserve. A recent study found that the “Millenial” generation (people between the ages of 20 and 40), especially, wants to know specifically how their gifts will benefit the organization’s constituents.

5. Be on time. Timing is everything in direct mail. Are you marketing at the best time of year? Do you have plenty of time to prepare your mailing or are you rushed? Most importantly, if your campaign has a specific “reply by” date, have you allowed your donor enough time to respond?

What do you think? What's your favorite fundraising tip?

Five Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

A new year gives us the opportunity to evaluate and reset our priorities. With that in mind, here are our top five resolutions for maximizing your 2011 direct mail campaigns.

5. Get to know your buyer. If you want to improve the return on your marketing investment, you must know your buyer. You may already know their age, income and gender, but can you paint a clear, concise picture of this person? What are their attitudes, lifestyles, affiliations, concerns, fears and motivations? Seriously consider taking a survey among your clients. It can lead to more targeted advertising.

4. Get personal. Personalized mailings always out-perform generic mailers. Of course, not everyone has the budget for this, so consider adding a personalized tagline on the envelope (or front of the self-mailer). It’s an incredibly low-cost way to get your reader involved and boost your response. Here are a few examples – 

Give yourself the gift of time
Does an extra three hours per day sound good to you, Chris?
Help this baby seal today
Chris – you can save this baby seal for less than the price of a cup of coffee.
Congratulations – you’re accepted!
Congratulations, Chris – you’re in!
Save money with solar power
Solar power can save Post Haste Mailing an average of $300 per month

3. Test. Did envelope A out-perform postcard B? Which list pulled stronger? Analyze your results and know what works.

2. And repeat. Study after study (after study!) shows improved response after a series of mailings. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a direct marketing campaign. Remember - with each mailing you’re building your visibility with your potential clients.

1. Call Post Haste Mailing Services for help. We know what works, will help you improve your ROI and (best of all) make it easy for you. (Hey, can you blame us for throwing in a little self promotion?)

Bill and I hope you have a happy, prosperous 2011.

McCain: Suggests "Going after" the USPS to help balance the budget. Say what?

“The Post Office- a model of inefficiency- horse and buggies in days of when Internets and communications have basically replacing it more and more uh we have to go after the sacred cows”
McCain added that he could solve Social Security “on the back of an envelope”.

Here's the full interview. McCain's comments are at 8:20.

Marketing Resolution for 2011

A brand new year is like a blank slate. We can do anything with it. Hope and optimism abound.

During the Great Recession, many companies cut back on their marketing and advertising. Which is exactly what they shouldn't have done.

Consider this: if you're cutting back on advertising, your competitors probably are too. What better time to highlight your business than when you have the spotlight all to yourself?

Resolve to begin your marketing campaign in 2011. And we can help. Just call us at 858-513-7740 for a free consultation.