The Donation Maximization Blog

How Direct Mailers Become their Clients Most Valuable Asset



These days more and more of our communication are taking place via digital channels. But despite the fact that we admittedly live in an increasingly digital world, direct mailers remain a viable and in fact, very powerful fundraising tool.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, 70 percent of Americans still regard “snail mail” as more personal than the internet. This insight can provide nonprofit marketers with extra leverage in terms of connecting with their donors in as direct a manner as possible.

This directness has a tangible impact on engagement, with USPS reporting that 60 percent of recipients of direct mailers were subsequently influenced to visit a promoted website. So what are the best ways to make sure your direct mailing campaign is as impactful as it could be?

Direct Mail Your Housefile

Direct mail has its greatest impact on your housefile of existing donors. Why? Because with each donor in your database, there is a preexisting relationship that must be maintained and can be grown.

To maintain an active, engaged donor roster, your enterprise must understand your customers. Maintaining active contact with these vital contributors can go a long way toward understanding their changes in situation — as well as toward helping them understand the ways your enterprise is changing. Regular solicitation can positively impact donors, making them feel as if they are part of an ongoing conversation, albeit a more focused one.

“This means that, except in rare occasions, you shouldn’t over-solicit your list by sending a letter every other week,” writes Joe Garecht for The Fundraising Authority. “It also means that you shouldn’t only send asks to your list… you need to send some cultivation mailings, like newsletters, updates, thank you letters and holiday postcards to your list to keep it fresh and let your donors know that you see them as more than just their wallet.”

Test Mailers and Reduce Marketing Costs

The cliche is that different strokes work for different folks, and those planning an extensive direct mailing campaign would do well to keep this in mind. With the price of postage and materials relatively high compared to email, making sure your campaign is perfectly calibrated is key to ensuring the highest possible ROI — and preventing donors from unsubscribing. Especially if you have a sprawling list, it helps to a/b (or even c) test various elements with a smaller subsection of your list before you let any materials fly.

“Test different variables,” writes Joe Boland at NonProfitPRO. “You should always be trying to beat your control, so test everything from inserts to letter length, to time of mailing to the envelope.”

Listen to What Your Donors Want

Direct mail campaigns work best if they act as a two-way street. That means if your donors have requests or feedback to a direct mailer, it behooves marketing managers to listen. Not only will this create a sense of meaningful connection, but it can serve as a valuable point of data.

Having this sort of information about your donors makes it easier for your nonprofit to create more accurate profiles and make smarter marketing decision via the application of high-powered predictive analytics. Once you understand who your customers are, you can generate direct mail campaigns that will bring unparalleled value to your enterprise.

To learn more about how using direct mailers in conjunction with personalized ask amounts can help you boost your fundraising efforts, contact us for a free demo.

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