Most organizations balks at the idea of a direct mail campaign. Calling prospective clients is easier and often costs less. Emailing clients is even simpler and free. However, the direct interaction and the sentimentality that can be attached to a direct mail campaign is very rare with either call or email strategies. Nonprofit direct mail campaigns, however have to be designed keeping in mind that the budget has to be used as sparingly as possible. This of course does not mean cutting the budget mindlessly, but structuring a strategy that plays on the priorities and yields maximum results. Here are a few tips that should be a part of every nonprofit direct mail campaign.
Only plan a direct mail strategy if you are equipped to test each step
When starting a direct mail campaign for prospective clients, it is important to measure the response rate of your strategy before you start expanding it to the whole of the list. If your prospective list comprises of 20,000 clients, start small by choosing 5000 random names from the list and sending out the direct mail to them. If the test fails, you need to improve on the structure, content or even the design of the letter depending on the issue. You can also test your nonprofit direct mail strategy with house file lists for acknowledgment and renewal mails. The response rates for these clients are just as important for a sustained fundraising campaign for your organization.
Always include your houseflies list with prospective client lists for direct mail strategy
Every nonprofit organization should specifically prioritize their house file list. This list consists of already claimed clients who have pledged donations in the past. These clients should be kept informed of new campaigns, events, and initiatives taken by the organization. The direct mails for house file lists should also contain acknowledgements and thanking messages for contributions made by every client on the list.
Do not start with prospective lists until your team is ready
To be successful with a prospective list strategy, your team has to have some experience in the field. This part of your non-profit direct mail strategy is more expensive and can be unreliable unless you move forward testing each step. Without an experienced team, you might be gambling on this step and lose quite a lot of your marked budget while you adjust to the situation. Instead, stick to house file list until your team understands the nuances of testing, measuring, and re-formatting strategies to get the best response rates from your clients.
Treat your client lists with respect
Over soliciting your clients might be the very reason why your response rates are dwindling. It is important to find the line between useful direct mails and plain fluff mails. Do not send in direct mails every other week. The frequency should be such that it allows the contributors to actually browse through the entire mail and make decisions. Not every mail should be about asking for donations. Your strategy should include a mix of cultivation content such as thank you letters, informative newsletters, and latest updates about events and fundraisers.
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