Direct mail is a mail piece, sent to a donor or prospect, with an ask to give money to your organization. This does not include other communication with donors and supporters (which you should be doing)!
Whether you are a nonprofit or candidate campaign you need to be communicating to your supporters with a fundraising ask at least four times a year. In most cases, it should be more often, but it depends on how much you are communicating with them in general, how large your donor base is, and if you have results from previous years to use as metrics.
Tip 1 - There’s still time to get the mail calendar drafted for 2019! The best way to communicate with your supporters regularly and hold yourself accountable is to plot out when your direct mail should drop for the next year. Your calendar dates should really be spaced out – I prefer a February drop date for the first ask of the year and typically sends something toward the end of the school year before summer begins and the July 4th lull, again post Labor Day and then the Monday after Thanksgiving. Every state and organization is different, this schedule works for most of our clients but it may not for you – test it!
Tip 2 - Use a personal story. You are raising money from people, who feel connected to you or to your organization. Tell them why they should care to give again. Every dollar matters whether it's a $10 or $10,000 gift. Each donor is valued and needs to feel the emotional connection to giving. Metrics also allow them to feel good about – what you did with their money and why you need more.
Tip 3 - Be intentional and informed with your ask. Don't send a donor who gives $10,000 to your organization and ask for $100, and vice versa!
Tip 4 - Measure it! How do you know if what you are spending on direct mail is working? Monitor the results. If you rented lists, how are they performing?
Tip 5 - Use the Give-Give-Give-Ask model. This is good for all things in business (and relationships). Provide value, communicate with donors, build relationships and then ask for help. At all times, be genuine and honest about why you need funding and don't ask for money before you provide value to them.
Direct mail fundraising is an entire workshop but if you are toying with getting started - these are a few good tips for you. As always if you need help give me a shout on my cell or email, always here to help!