Nonprofit Direct Mail Marketing
What, Why, How to Do Direct Mail Marketing For Non-profit Companies
Non-profit companies rely on donors for their organization to keep functioning and serving others. The support and funds from donors are important assets. That makes fundraising essential for such organizations. But for that, it is necessary to reach out. Marketing is as integral a part of a non-profit as it is for any other business.
In the case of non-profits, one of the best options to reach potential donors is through direct mail. In this age of digital marketing, direct mail fundraising may seem like an outdated method. But there are so many advantages of direct mail marketing for non-profit companies that it has to be a part of your formula for success.
What is direct mail marketing for nonprofits?
Direct mail marketing refers to marketing by sending physical mailings to prospective donors or patrons through the post. Direct mail fundraising is an age-old concept in marketing for non-profits and has been around for decades. Though the world today is shifting towards digital marketing, non-profit mailers are still not uncommon. This method of direct mail marketing has proven to be very helpful to non-profit organizations.
Non-profit direct mail marketing is found to have a much higher return on investment than digital marketing. The response rates to direct non-profit mailers are nearly 10 times higher than those to digital marketing campaigns.
Why direct mail fundraising is important for non-profits?
Non-profits not only need to target potential donors- they also need to stay in touch with their donors and maintain a relationship to ensure continued support. This is where direct mail marketing can step in to make a huge difference.
Here's how direct mail fundraising is helping non-profits with fundraising.
- Finding potential donors
If you are doing it right, direct mail marketing can help you find promising prospects for your non-profit organization. Creating a targeted mailing list for the direct mail fundraising campaign can help you find potential donors that fit your profiling. The mailing list can be segmented on the basis of location, age, income, gender, community, and other aspects. This is to make sure that the right prospects are reached, who can afford to and would be willing to donate to the cause.
- Adding a personal touch
This is probably the biggest advantage of direct mail marketing for non-profits. This is also the reason why direct mail is more effective than other digital media. Non-profits usually work to serve a community or a certain section of people. In such a case, it is extremely important to make people understand what they are working towards and give their campaigns a more personal angle. People are more likely to donate to a cause when they can feel a personal connection both to the cause and the organization.
Emails, newsletters, or other digital marketing tools can convey the same message but then there are a hundred other marketing emails spamming everyone's inbox today. One more email in that lot may be easily ignored and fail to generate interest in a prospective donor. Receiving a direct mail though, be it a postcard, an information brochure, or anything else that promotes your cause, is bound to be more meaningful for the potential donor.
Non-profit mailers that the target donors can feel in their hands and read not only make an instant connection. They can also show the effort that the non-profit company has put in to reach out to their prospects.
- Enhancing engagement and building a bond
Sending thank you notes or letters of appreciation for their support to your donors by direct mail can help build a strong relationship. Though the same can be done through email, receiving a personalized thank you note physically can make them feel much more appreciated. Expressing your gratitude to your donors with a physical note or a postcard will always be considered a kind gesture and donors are likely to keep your organization in mind for future contributions.
- Staying up-to-date
Direct mail marketing is also a great way to stay in touch with your donors and send reminders for upcoming fundraising events whenever necessary. Staying in touch through direct mail is also a way to know if there has been any change in their address, name, or any other details.
Best strategies for non-profit direct mail fundraising
Just as any other marketing campaign, non-profit direct mail marketing also requires some amount of planning and a robust strategy. Non-profit companies need to be clear about their goals and build a strategy for direct mail fundraising that helps them achieve these goals.
Here are some useful tips for non-profit direct mail fundraising. These will give you some idea of how to fundraise with mailers more effectively.
Choose your fundraising mailing list very carefully
When it comes to direct mail fundraising, there are broadly two types of campaigns. These are the housefile campaign and the prospecting campaign. The housefile campaign is meant for donors who have donated to your organization earlier and are already on your list.
The prospecting list is the list of potential new donors you could reach out to. It is usually seen that housefile campaigns bring better ROI for non-profits as compared to prospecting campaigns. Since these donors have already contributed to your cause, the likelihood of them wanting to contribute again is greater. The donation may not be made right away but it helps build a rapport with the donor which can be very useful down the line.
It is advisable for all non-profit organizations to have a housefile list at hand. When starting out with direct mail marketing, starting with housefile campaigns can be a better strategy.
If your fundraising campaigns are mostly raising funds online then targeting the older generations with direct mailing is very crucial. The fact that donors belonging to older generations may not be very tech-savvy and may not always check their emails, has to be kept in mind. They can be reached through the post and your mail can direct them to the online campaign from there. That is why generational preferences are very crucial to your targeting strategy.
Decide on the right kind of direct non-profit mailer packs
Now, we've understood that direct mail is a highly useful tool. But what exactly do you send in the mail? You can't always send a letter asking for funds. You need to diversify and make your direct mail fundraising campaign more engaging. There are several options depending on the purpose of your direct mail, be it asking for support and funds or reporting the results that your organization has achieved.
Nonprofit Letter with buck slip mailing
The most commonly used non-profit direct mail pack is probably the letter. A letterhead from the organization explaining what the non-profit is working towards and how it plans to help with the cause can be the best way to spread awareness about your initiative. At the end of the letter, you can attach a tear-off buck slip or coupon that can be used to make the donation. The tear-off slip will have the donor's details and the details of the contribution they are making, which can be mailed back to the non-profit.
Non Profit Brochure mailing
A brochure allows you to explain your work in a little more detail than a letter and looks a little more interesting as well. Brochures can be accompanied with a donation slip as well so that potential donors can contribute easily.
Nonprofit Catalog mailing
A far more detailed account of your efforts can be presented through a catalog. If there is a lot you have to say to a new donor, for instance, who doesn't know what your non-profit is about, a catalog can be a great way to educate them. Catalogs and brochures also give you the liberty to add relevant images and share pictures from your past initiatives, to give a bit more insight into your work.
Postcard Mailings for Non profits
Another good way to grab attention is through postcards. You could print some interesting postcards relevant to your cause or with images from your earlier work and send them in the mail package. These could be accompanied by a letter and a donation slip to give the recipient more information about the fundraiser.
Newsletters for Nonprofits
Newsletters are a great way of showing your donors how their donations are helping. A monthly or quarterly newsletter that talks about all the activities the organization has carried out during the time and how the donations have been utilized can be useful. It can make the donors see that their contribution have been worthwhile. Sharing stories of success and words from a few donors can also motivate them to continue their support.
Nonprofit Greeting cards and calendars
The best way to build relationships with your donors is by sending them best wishes during the festive seasons. Greeting cards and pocket calendars are always welcome during the festive times and accompanied by a letter or a brochure, these can be a good way to remind them of your cause.
Make your message personal and touching when marketing for non profits
A very important aspect of direct mail fundraising is making that personal connection. That is why it is crucial to make your message very engaging and personal, no matter what kind of mail package you're sending. Sharing stories of the lives that the non-profit has touched or sharing the story of the organization itself can give the prospective donor an idea of the impact the organization is making.
It is also important to personalize the message by addressing the reader in the first person and using active voice. Use "you" and the recipient's name wherever possible and make the message feel like a conversation. All these factors add up to make the campaign more effective.
Be straightforward with donation requests for non profits
Non-profits can often be hesitant to mention donation amounts in their letters. But unless you mention what you need, the donor will be in the dark as to what would be a decent amount of contribution. This could mean they would delay or abandon the idea completely. It is always best to be clear about what your non-profit is looking for at the moment. You can mention the minimum amount of contribution that you wish to accept to avoid any kind of confusion.
Create a sense of urgency for non profit fundraising
Creating a sense of urgency with your message can help receive donations faster. You need to emphasize how each passing minute is crucial to the cause that you are serving and how a quick action on the donor's part can help serve the community better. This sense of urgency can be created with the help of alarming images of the issue at hand or a closing date for a particular cause, pushing the donor to make decisions faster.
Get a non-profit postage permit
For a non-profit organization, sending out bulk mail regularly can be a huge expenditure. Postage itself can cost a massive amount if you go the regular way. But non-profits have another option, thankfully. There are special postage charges for non-profit organizations that they can make use of. Getting a non-profit postage permit is the first thing that you should do when planning your direct mail campaign. A nonprofit postage permit will save you about 10 cents on every piece of mail that goes out!
There are three types of non-profit postage – stamps, meter, and indicia. All of these have the same postage charges but look and work differently. A stamp is similar to any other postage stamp but costs lesser than regular stamps. Indicia, on the other hand, has to be printed on your envelope and the non-profit postage permit number has to be used on the indicia. Another option is to send out metered mail, but that is a little more labor-intensive than the other two options.
In any case, you will need to apply for a non-profit postage permit at the post office to be eligible for non-profit rates and save on postage.
Use a reliable direct mail service provider
If you plan on sending your direct mails through a service provider, make sure to choose one that is experienced and reliable. An efficient non-profit direct mail service will ensure that your mail is delivered on time and with minimum hassles. This takes a lot of the burden off your shoulders. As the service provider carries out the groundwork for you, you can focus on the more important stuff.
Some interesting statistics about direct mail fundraising
To give you a little more insight into the world of direct mail fundraising, here are a few essential statistics you should know.
- Direct mail combined with digital marketing efforts, such as paid ads, can increase the ROI for a non-profit to nearly 29%.
- Direct mail makes information easier to process. Recipients can process the information from a hard copy with 21% less effort as compared to an email.
- Direct mail has a 4.4% average response rate as compared to just 0.12% for emails.
- Making the message more engaging by adding the person's name, printing in full color, and sharing more relevant and sophisticated information from the database can increase the response rate by up to 500%.
Setup Your Non Profit Direct Mail Marketing Campaign
Direct mail marketing for non-profits has been around for decades and is here to stay, no matter how advanced digital marketing strategies become.
Non-profits that have not yet tapped into the full potential of direct mail fundraising need to understand its importance and build a fail-proof strategy around it. Direct mail campaigns may very well be the kickstart that your non-profit needs to create awareness and drive a higher return on investment.