Building a Case for Direct Mail

untitled2When a direct mail piece doesn’t yield the results your organization expects, they may be tempted to never do it again.

Or if your organization has never sent a fundraising letter, it may be hard to convince them to even try it.

And even if your organization is willing to send one, they may insist on sending an ineffective fundraising letter.

It’s very tempting for executive directors to scrap the idea when a letter flops. It can also be difficult to convince well-meaning leadership staff that asking is not a bad thing, or that fundraising copy is different from program descriptions and marketing copy.

As a fundraising professional you already know that direct mail is one stream of revenue in a diversified fund development strategy that will help you meet your organization’s fundraising goal. So how do you convince your organization to be on board with it?

You can gather industry data that shows proven results. You can speak to other organizations who have had success with direct mail. But what if your organization still seems unconvinced?

Proposing a test may be the answer.

In the case where an organization insists on sending their usual type of letter written by someone who is not a fundraising professional, propose a portion of the list receive a professional fundraising letter. Let the results speak for you.

In the case that the organization has never sent a fundraising letter, sending one to a portion of your constituents as a test may be an option. Asking does result in giving.

Once you have a robust direct mail program, testing key variables on portions of your mailing list continues to ensure that you are sending the most effective direct mail package.

Asking people to donate through your direct mail program is an important part of your organization’s diversified fund development plan.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.



  1. Wyrd Smythe

    FWIW (and I’m one odd data point usually), I despise telemarketing and generally won’t do business with any organization that telemarkets me (I really hate it). But for many year, mailings have been the source of my selection of charities. (Recently I’ve been using online tools to seek out charities with extremely low overheads — so most of what I give does good work — and extremely good ratings.)

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