Sunday, January 8, 2012

Waste Not those Mail Solicitations

In this era of social media, is anyone still using “snail mail” to solicit donations?  Short answer – yes they are!  Although not as prevalent as it used to be, real mail, on paper, delivered to the home of a donor or prospective donor remains a valid solicitation technique.  One of the first rules of sales, marketing, and fundraising, is to use as many different types of communications as one can afford, and that includes direct mail. 

But mail can be expensive.  And for that reason, any organization with a limited budget needs to be careful to structure its mail campaigns as efficiently as possible. 

A few years ago I made a memorial gift to an out-of-state charity. For quite a while after that one-time gift, I continued to receive regular correspondence from the organization, including a bi-annual newsletter, which was a very nicely done piece and not inexpensive to mail. However, I never made any follow-up gifts after that single memorial gift, nor do I intend to make additional gifts. This charity was wasting money by keeping me on its mailing list.

Here are a few suggestions to make sure your mailings are worthwhile and likely to elicit contributions:
1. Regularly examine your mailing list and highlight everyone who has not given a gift in two or more years.
2. Of that list, highlight those who live out of state and determine why they gave in the first place -- was it a memorial one-time gift? Have they moved away from your service area?
3. Delete anyone from this list who has never lived in your area and made only one gift.
4. Send a personal correspondence to anyone who used to give regularly and has stopped. Ask if they wish to continue receiving news of your organization.
5. Devise an inexpensive communications piece, such as a postcard, to send to those you want to stay "in front of" but who do not give regularly. 

Mail remains a viable solicitation tool.  Just be sure to maximize that investment and keep your lists up-to-date.

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