3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Fall Direct Mail Fundraising Appeal

It’s Fall!

That means lots of nonprofits are ramping up their fundraising efforts and asking for donations.

It can be a bit intimidating, and it’s easy to get confused about the best path to fundraising success in the mail.

Here are three things you can do to get the most out of your fall direct mail appeal and raise more money for your mission.

1. Evaluating Past Fundraising Direct Mail Performance

It’s always a good idea to look at the things you’ve done in the past to see what worked and what didn’t. This includes:

  • Cleaning up your mailing list to be sure all updates from the last mailing have been entered and any new prospects or donors have been added.
  • Looking at the data from past direct mail appeals to see what were the smallest/largest gift amounts and the average gift amounts from other appeals, how many gifts were received.
  • Doing an honest review of the previous appeals to see how effective the themes and call to actions were. This information is valuable in planning a realistic goals and expectations for your mailing. You can’t really make good decisions going forward if you don’t learn from the past.

2. Planning for Fundraising Success

You need to have a roadmap and know how you’re going to get from Point A to Point B. If you aren’t planning for success, then you are in fact planning for failure. A conference speaker I heard once put it like this, “hope is not a strategy.”
Fundraising planning includes the overall process from concept and design to response and evaluation.
Who will do what and when? What theme will you have? What is your call to action for donors to get them to respond? What are the appropriate giving levels? What should the package (outside envelope, letter, response device) look like?

3. Telling a Story

Once you have done the evaluation and planning, it’s time to start writing. Through the planning process you should have identified your target audience, the type of appeal you want to use, the theme, the call to action, and you have some idea what size and how many gifts you can expect. Think of writing the letter as telling a very short story.

What great success story have you had in the last few months or years that exemplifies how your organization is making a difference in people’s lives and the local community? Think of the letter as reaching out and giving others the opportunity to join in and makes it possible for more successes like this in the future.