From the President

Remember the old “Twilight Zone” TV show, where you would land in this weird little city somewhere, and everything was normal, except that it wasn’t?

That’s kind of what things feel like now. Things are a kind of forced normal, and no one really wants to know what will happen if you peel back another layer.

In an Age of Chronic Uncertainty…

However, in this age of chronic uncertainty, we are seeing some reliable trends in our industry, especially on direct mail fundraising.

People still need to communicate with their constituents, and they seem to be a little more intentional about how they are doing that. They are a little more deliberate about who they are sending to, and they are a little more careful to craft their message properly. Yes, that’s Direct Mail Fundraising/Marketing 101, but it’s easier said than done.

That said, it’s really a question of how much discipline you put forth, how much time you put in, how much you want to spend, and of course, who you choose as your printing services partner.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Your direct mail fundraising campaign is much more than messaging/copy.

Who is your audience? If purchasing a list, have you combed through the demographics? Education level, history of giving, a certain age range? Maybe it’s a radius around a destination, a zip code, or even the area that a church congregation lives… it can all be done. If you are pulling the list from your database, are you taking advantage of all the appropriate personal information you have access to?

Once you have determined who you are mailing (talking) to, did you craft the message that speaks to your audience? Nobody wants to read something that is not relevant to them. Take the time to create an effective message that speaks to each of your target audience members personally.

Showing yourself, your values (not just your value), or an emotional tie somehow became so 101 that people forgot how to do it authentically.

And one thing I’ve noticed: just because people can write, does not make them a good fundraising writer. Messaging is a craft. I’m not saying you can’t do it, but really take some time, and ask for some differing, honest opinions.

And of course, you need discipline. Take notes, see what works and what does not. How far back do you go from the last donation, did you use messaging on the envelope? Did you A-B test it? Chances are, you’ll probably want to take it for a second round, and further.

A good annual or semi-annual direct mail appeal could really stand to benefit cash flow, and the harder you work, the more results you are likely to see.

Are you taking advantage of new digital printing technology and direct mail fundraising campaigns, really?

If not, you should be. You’re running a business in the Twilight Zone, after all.

You can get more resources and information (like downloading our Direct Mail 101 ebook) here.