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Blog Post | Jun 25, 2024

Boost Fundraising for Nonprofits

Best Practices for Direct Mail Appeals

Topics: Direct Mail

direct mail
Direct mail remains one of the most effective fundraising channels for nonprofit organizations, despite the popularity of digital marketing. This is in large part because of its continued value, personal nature and measurable results.
  • According to Vericast, direct mail has a deeper emotional impact on recipients and is more likely to inspire action than digital media.
  • Giving Mail reports that individual donations account for nearly 70% of total giving (over $300B) and come from direct mail.
  • The U.S. Postal Service found in multiple studies that recipients spend longer reviewing print media than digital; it leaves a longer-lasting impact; it’s more memorable; and people place a higher value on what they see in print.

To maximize your nonprofit organization’s direct mail success, you need to create interesting and effective print materials. Below we share some best practices for your direct mail campaigns that will help get your donors to contribute.

Use Persuasive Visuals
Your words matter, but so does the imagery that accompanies them in your mailer. Photos, illustrations and other visuals are the heart of your compelling story with the power to evoke emotional connections with your donors. Use high-quality visuals that show the extent of the need and the impact of your organization’s work in the field. The visuals you select help to tell your story and move donors to support your nonprofit.

Integrate Digital into the Mix
Include a modern twist in your fundraising appeal by integrating digital strategies to begin an online relationship with donors and prospective donors. Engage with recipients using online options such as social media, QR Codes, or embedded Personalized URLs (PURLs) that drive users to your website or landing page. This combination of traditional and digital boosts response rates—the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) reported a 5% response rate for integrated campaigns, compared to .6% for email campaigns alone.

Use Envelopes to Stand Out
The envelope is your donor’s first impression, so grab their attention with a teaser that borrows from the emotional appeal of the mailer or a compelling graphic that bleeds off the edge. You could also include your logo and tagline to reinforce your organization’s brand and mission. A strategically designed envelope, combined with your copy, visuals, and reply card/slip/mailer or digital equivalent, forms a cohesive campaign that attracts attention.

Personalize Your Mailer
Personalization is key; consider using Variable Data Printing (VDP) to create custom marketing pieces with different graphics, copy, offers and calls-to-action (CTA) for each donor recipient. With all the data you collect about your donors, you have plenty of information to make your donors feel special and boost their loyalty.

Use Your Analytics
Evaluate your appeal campaigns regularly to determine the impact, looking at what worked and what didn’t. You can also use data to look at new converts as well as to weed out disinterested donors and identify lapsed donors. Based on their place in the donor funnel, you can customize future messages to appeal directly to your different tiers of donors. The findings will also help you cut costs because you will no longer be mailing to unresponsive recipients.

Nonprofit direct mail fundraising continues to be a powerful tool for reaching new and existing donors. By following the best practices for direct mail outlined above, you can create highly effective, high-performing campaigns that drive engagement and build loyalty among your prospects. Contact us for help building your next direct mail fundraising appeal.
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