4 Tips on Direct Mail Fundraising


Direct mail fundraising can be a great way for organizations to solicit donations from people who either are less active online or trust print materials more. It can also be another point of contact between the organization and potential donors to increase their knowledge of the nonprofit and develop the donor-nonprofit relationship.

This year, our client Claremont Meals on Wheels hopes to increase their budget through their own direct mail fundraising program. When our team researched best practices and drafted the letter for their campaign, we developed a guideline that any organization can adopt for a successful letter.

In order to have a successful direct mail fundraising program, make your letter…

1) Personal

In order to receive the best results, your letter needs to make potential donors feel connected to the cause. If they just feel like another random person who received the letter, they will not feel compelled to support your organization. Use language that can be understood by people from all backgrounds. Avoid using slang and advanced vocabulary. Be intentional in who you deliver your letters to. Since the printing and delivery of letters can be costly, carefully choose your recipients on their likelihood to feel interested in the organization and donate. Increase personability by tailoring different letters to different donors if your organization has the resources to do so.

2) Short, sweet and to the point

As with any other solicitations, people will quickly scan through the letter before deciding to toss it or find out more. Make sure that your letter does not include any unnecessary details and that every word is deliberate. If possible, use infographics to present information efficiently and clearly. Additionally, do not beat around the bush. People want to feel as though their time is valued so introduce the idea of donations early on. Although other details should be included to persuade the potential donor, make it clear that your aim is to gain their financial support.

3) Easy for donors to respond to

Interested potential donors need an instant, easy way to donate before they feel dissuaded. Make sure to include a self-addressed stamped response envelope with your letter or a website link that they can follow to donate online. The easier the process, the more likely a donor will follow through with their donation.

4) Trackable

Most importantly, the letters should be easily trackable. The more trackable, the more your organization can improve its program for the future. Through recording the percentage of responses, the monetary amount of gifts and the difference between gifts and cost of the campaign, your organization can decide how successful the direct mail campaign is and if the campaign works for your specific organization. Tracking the different gifts can allow your organization to follow up with donors and further stewardship. The cultivation of previous donors is essential for ensuring their continuous support and receiving larger amount of donations.

if you have any questions about direct mail fundraising, please reach out to source@cmc.edu!

by lisa hao