Direct Mail And Hurricanes

The Agitator

Postal Service is wondering, “Should I mail or not mail?” ” To The Agitator , with its roots in direct mail, this is both a donor-centric question and an organization-centric one.

Direct Mail Is Here to Stay (and How)


In today’s digital age, it might seem somewhat nostalgic to talk about direct mail. While it’s tempting to default to cost effective communication channels like email and Facebook, direct mail is still very much in play. Today, direct mail continues to be an effective way to prompt donors to take action. Knowing the methodology has evolved, how do we cut through email clutter and reach donors in a personal way via their mailbox?

Direct Mail Yields Major Gift Donors

The Agitator

On Monday we reported on the American Cancer Society (ACS) and its project over the past year to re-examine the role of direct mail in its fundraising program. The following graph shows the percentage of active FY14 large gift donors for a national organization.

Direct Mail + Online = Results

The Agitator

One that recently caught my attention is titled: The Direct Mail Paradox and how you are losing donors. These guys are mobile fundraising zealots, and so I expected their infographic would trash direct mail. And indeed they started a bit on that note, with this observation: “ For most people, direct mail is annoying (BTW, this is the.

Direct Mail is not Yet Dead

The Agitator

None of this matters if you can’t block and tackle with mail. That’s right, mail isn’t dead. So here are my arguments for continued use of the mail. Mail is where more donations come in. Mail retains donors (slightly) better. The same survey found that 31% of first-time offline donors will retain. Only 25% of new online donors will. Ending mail acquisition is a flop. New donor revenue dropped by $11.3 Mail lifts all boats.

Write a Better Case for Support and Direct Mail Appeals

Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog

We just finished his Donor Newsletters That Raise More Money e-clinic and July brings two more training opportunities for you. Direct Mail Appeal Letters. Then, on July 28th, we start our very popular direct mail training with Tom. Join Fundraising Expert Tom Ahern.

Direct Mail for Small Nonprofits

Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog

In a little over a week — starting November 8 — Tom Ahern will join me to present the Direct Mail for Small Nonprofits E-Clinic again at Nonprofit Marketing Guide. As you probably know, Tom Ahern is one of THE masters of donor communications, especially direct mail. Tom firmly believes that you don’t need a gigantic direct mail list in order to raise significant dollars — and he has proven it with several of his smaller clients.

3 ways to use direct mail effectively in the age of social media


Although direct mail requires printing and postage, we still include it in our marketing plans because it can be effective if you do it right. MarketSmart has generated millions of dollars for clients with direct mail. Often it is best to combine direct mail with an Internet landing page. Otherwise, it’s just “junk mail”. Next, drop them in the mail every few weeks or so.

Raising Money with Direct Mail and Donor Newsletters

Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog

In August, Tom will teach the fourth round of Direct Mail for Small Nonprofits , which is all about getting your appeal letter into tip top shape. Tom Ahern. I love Tom Ahern to bits.

Acquisition – Direct Mail: The Exquisite Corpse

The Agitator

For nearly 20 years prognosticators have prematurely heralded the death of direct mail. After all, they argue, “online” is far cheaper and faster, plus donor demographics are changing, so it’s only a matter of time before direct mail is dead and buried.

In Direct Mail, All Responses, Even Complaints, Are Good

Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog

Tom Ahern is my go-to guy for all things direct mail. Afraid your direct mail piece goes too far and will solicit a negative response? If you are interested in Tom critiquing your direct mail appeal, sign up for our Direct Mail for Small Nonprofits e-clinic in May.

Direct Mail Yields Major Gift Donors

The Agitator

On Monday we reported on the American Cancer Society (ACS) and its project over the past year to re-examine the role of direct mail in its fundraising program. The following graph shows the percentage of active FY14 large gift donors for a national organization.

Direct Mail Survives At American Cancer Society

The Agitator

That strategy involved: Stop all direct mail acquisition to generate new direct mail donors for the organization. Stop all direct mail conversion to offer non-direct mail Society donors (online donors, event-participants/donors, information seekers, etc.) an opportunity to give a direct mail gift. Remove the American Cancer Society direct mail donors from all exchange universes.

#FUNDRAISING: Consider Moving Online Donors To Direct Mail Giving

Non Profit Marketing 360

Online donations are certainly growing, but as a recent report from Blackbaud demonstrates, long-term support and larger donations still mostly come from responses to direct mail, even if initial support comes online. Those gifts also tend to be higher than first-time mail-in donations.

Starting Over #5: Growing Without Direct Mail

The Agitator

Personal solicitation of major donors? Breaking Out of the Status Quo Direct mail Donor acquisition Donor retention / loyalty / commitment Integrated fundraising and marketing Nonprofit management Starting Over premiumWhen we first announced the Starting Over series, the very first comment we received came from Sarah Nutbrown who works for a small nonprofit in New Zealand.

Acquisition: Direct Mail Testing – Part 1

The Agitator

Tom’s post on the Obama campaign’s email testing prompts me to weigh in on one of the least understood and woefully mis-practiced skills in the direct response fundraiser’s repertoire – direct mail testing.

How to End Your Obsession With Direct Mail (and Why)


Recently someone over-enthusiastically posted a discussion topic on one of my LinkedIn Groups promoting direct mail’s benefits. I’m not against direct mail. In fact, I love direct mail too. Ahh… love. Is there anything better than love?

Why You Shouldn’t Give Up on Direct Mail

Ann Green

You may think direct mail is a relic of the past or you don’t use it much because it’s too expensive. Direct mail is still a viable way to communicate with your donors. Listen to your donors. Some donors prefer to hear from you by mail.

Direct mail envelopes–five ideas for nonprofit fundraising


of the direct mail we get, unopened. A good half of my direct mail is from nonprofits and, even in my modestly generous home, nine out of 10 new appeals go unopened into the recycling bag. Remember, direct mail is a science, not an art.

Direct Mail Package 101

The Agitator

An experienced direct mail copywriter, with a proven track record, can command thousands of dollars for creating a direct mail package. Any nonprofit attempting to mount a direct mail campaign should think about whether your campaign can afford a seasoned copywriter. But I concede that leaves thousands of small nonprofits who have little choice — you do need to ask for donations, and do need to use mail to do so.

If you’re asking yourself whether or not direct mail is dead, then you’re asking the wrong question


There’s too much talk about whether or not direct mail is dead. I get direct mail delivered to me every day. The question should rather be about why BAD direct mail is still alive at all. BAD direct mail should be killed dead. Good direct mail should be kept alive. So what about your direct mail efforts? Are they donor-centric? What do your donors think of them?

4 essential questions to ask yourself about your planned or major gift direct mail program


Are you really doing direct mail well? I like to say, “Be donor-centric. What do your donors think? Do they put up with your direct mail? Consider this: Is your new donor retention rate high? Will you sell your list of new donors?

Direct Mail Drop and Social Media Rise

A Small Change

Outside of a vibrant major gifts program direct mail is probably the number one way to raise money at most organizations. And direct mail will still be a major way to find donors for a long time to come but not forever. It appears that direct mail is on the decline. I think that we are still at the early stages of social media fundraising and we will see direct mail continue to decline and social media & online fundraising continue to grow.

Could Catalogs be Gen Y's Direct Mail?


At a minimum, those magazines could be a great place to get young donor's attention. A few days back I found a story on Marketing Charts that summarized the findings about Gen Y from Deloitte’s “2007 State of the Media Democracy."

Email: Electronic Direct Mail?

The Agitator

they have donor files. the challenge is getting donors' email addresses.]. Copywriting — email is not electronic direct mail. But basic direct response principles still hold water!]. Tags: Don't Miss these Posts communications database marketing direct marketing email marketing fundraising online activism online fundraising online publishing No, says e-marketer Loren McDonald.

Direct Mail Is Dying. Again!

The Agitator

Here’s another prediction of the death of direct mail, as reported on frogloop. Says research firm Borrell, spending on direct mail will decline by 40% over the next five years. Get a move on direct mail fundraisers! Focus instead on the direct response fundraising results of your own organization. P.S. In fact, we have a DonorTrends white paper that examines donor preferences across generations in terms of giving channels.

Direct mail: How To Beat The Control

The Agitator

Donor acquisition is entering its 6 th year of a prolonged and steady slump for most organizations. As an oversimplified example, take a direct mail package with 3 components —outer envelope, letter, reply form — and 6 variations for each component. Almost every direct response fundraiser I’ve met will acknowledge that the process of determining what components and variations get tested is anything but empirical, rigorous or efficient.

What Direct Mail Can’t Do

The Agitator

In this post, 4 Ways to Overcome the Digital “Emotion Deficit,&# fundraising blogger Jeff Brooks makes excellent points about some advantages the online medium has over direct mail. Easier — and uncomplicated — to offer the donor giving options, both in terms of programmatic appeal and payment alternatives.

Stupid Direct Mail

Fundraising Breakthroughs

I've been holding two terrible mail appeals from nice organizations in my heart for the last few weeks. And someone, perhaps the office assistant, perhaps the CDC director, had done a thoughtless, sloppy, lazy job mailing it out. Lesson One: Follow Through and Attend to Important Details Don't let go until the piece goes into the mail. Will prospective donors want to open this? Treat prospective donors with thoughtfulness and respect.

Transitioning Direct Mail Donors to Social Media

A. Fine Blog

I wrote last week about the very interesting research findings from Blackbaud that found that donors that come through traditional channels like direct mail give more over time when they transition to social media channels like Facebook. I received a tweet afterwards asking how, exactly, organizations are doing this. And voila! here is a treasure [.].

Direct mail fundraising mistakes

Donor Power Blog

This month is on Direct Mail. Here they are: Not having a clear plan Starting with the letter Overlooking the response device Failing to consider donor benefits Avoiding the ask Writing 'purple prose' Forgetting that the letter is a letter. It's good advice that can save you some trouble and boost response to your direct mail. Technorati Tags: copywriting , direct mail. There's a good series running in FundRaising Success magazine: Fundraising 101.

Direct mail fundraising: Longer is still better

Donor Power Blog

One of the more common critiques you'll hear of direct mail fundraising letters: It's too long. Direct mail is still a readers' medium. And those most responsive to direct mail are those who actually intentionally get their information through reading. This could change in the coming years as a new generation of busier, more cynical, less print-friendly donors become our audience. Your donors may be different.

Three-Minute Cure for Donor Attrition

Non Profit Marketing 360

If you hope to see this year’s donors again next year at this time, here’s good advice from two of the smartest people in the field. Katya Andresen of Network for Good offers the three-minute remedy for donor attrition: pick up the phone immediately when you receive a gift to say thank you. Direct mail copywriter Jeff Brooks reminds you that your donors are people who value personal relationships and, unlike you or me, still love to get mail.

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Direct Mail Isn’t Dying – But Sometimes I Wish It Would

Sea Change Strategies

As long as I have been doing fundraising the “is direct mail dead” question has arisen with great regularity. Interestingly, the question is always raised by direct mail fundraising consultants — and the answer is always unsurprisingly “no.”. Full disclosure – professionally I fall on the “cyber” side of things, but I have a healthy respect for the financial importance of direct mail – for now and for the foreseeable future.

Are You Quarantining Your Major Donors?

The Agitator

That’s what my fundraising buddies told me 47 years ago when I left university major gift fundraising to help launch a new, direct mail-driven nonprofit called Common Cause. It’s as though exposure to direct mail or email will somehow infect their major donors and prospects.

Three Wise Investments That Can Help You Raise More Money

Ann Green

You can segment your donors by amount and politely ask them to give a little more in your next appeal – $35 or $50 instead of $25. A good database can help you with retention, which will save you money since it costs less to keep donors than to acquire new ones. Invest in direct mail.

Money 95

How Donors Choose Among Nonprofits: The Role of Identity

The Agitator

One of the points Kevin made yesterday is that organizations are differentiating themselves by creating donor journeys based on donor identity. The University of Kent (best known as where Superman’s adoptive parents studied) did a report called “ How Donor Choose Charities.”

Are your letters to major donors and donor prospects any good?


Direct mail is NOT dead! However, ‘ spray and pray ‘ direct mail should be! Long live one-to-one, highly relevant, personalized communications— including direct mail letters! How to adopt a “you” mindset and make the donor feel like a hero.

Letter 130

Letting Go of Donors

The Agitator

A couple weeks ago, I argued you haven’t truly acquired a donor until you get permission, information, or a second gift. Now let’s talk about the other end of the spectrum – when does your relationship with a donor end? Mail, on the other hand, may often be cost-prohibitive.

Donor target ask amounts offend me


How on earth can a software provider or wealth screener (or, sometimes, even a prospect researcher) assume a ‘target ask amount’ without having had a single conversation with the donor? I find this offensive and I think your donors might too. First, you should qualify the donors for your caseload (portfolio). I think unless you already know the donor, presupposing is dreaming. Is donor qualification more important than donor identification?

Target 100

The Tragedy of the Donor Commons

The Agitator

How do we know this tragedy of the commons has arrived when it comes to donor acquisition through list rental and exchange? There are a few signposts: Our donors are reporting it. Cumulative exposure to nonprofit appeals erodes donors’ likelihood of donating.

Donor Communications Control

The Agitator

I think this person is likely to be on your donor file…. …She’s an average-ish donor – she gives to six different organizations ( in the US Russ Reid’s Heart of the Donor Survey says six; Apogee says three in the last year and 10 over their lifetime, so this is a decent middle-of-the-road guess). The amount of mail she gets from these six organizations seems wasteful – about 100 pieces all told last year. All for six gifts that aren’t made through the mail.

Is direct mail headed for the circular file?

Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Today my soon-to-be-husband received a direct mail piece with the following message on the envelope: “Warning: The penalty for obstructing or interfering with the delivery of this letter is a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 5 years imprisonment.&# The contents of this outrageous piece of mail? This is the kind of thing that makes me hate direct mail. And… is direct mail ultimately headed for the circular file?