Direct Mail Is a Must

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If you’re a nonprofit soliciting crucial donations, direct mail is, simply, a must.  According to a recent report by software developer Blackbaud Inc., a large majority of non profit donors give through only one channel, and that preferred channel  is mail.

Developed by Blackbaud’s Target Analytics company, the report finds that although multichannel giving has become a popular objective of non profits as a means of building constituent support,  it is NOT widely practiced.   The only donors who do significant multichannel giving are new donors acquired online. Large numbers of these donors switch to direct mail giving in subsequent years. This is the group of donors for which multichannel giving is crucial for garnering repeat gifts and realizing true long-term potential.


“The internet is becoming an increasingly important acquisition channel, but has not proven to be as effective for retention,” says Rob Harris, Target Analytics’ director of analytic products and a co-author of the study.  “It is the ability of on-line acquired donors to use another channel-that is, to start giving through direct mail-that significantly boosts the long-term value of this group of donors.”


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To Mail or to Email; Environmentally, that is the ?


To save the planet, if indeed, it does need saving, YOU can support sustainable resources.  One way to do it is to recycle, reuse and repurpose what you generate daily.  And paper is at the top of that list.

However, remember this:  paper comes from wood, one of the truest natural resources AND it’s renewable!  Did you know, in fact, that the pulp and paper industry replenishes more than it takes and ensures forest sustainability by planting 1.7 million trees every day?  That’s way more than is harvested.

Think about this:  nearly 60% of all paper in the U.S. is recycled.  In comparison, less than 20% of U.S. electronic devices are recycled.  So, are emails truly free to send?  Don’t they have a business environmental cost?  You bet they do!

Closing the deal:  according to WebPageFX Weekly, Oct. 17, 2011 spam from emails is more than an annoyance.  How much more?  1 spam email = emitting Green House Gases for every 3 feet that you drive and when multiplied by the 95 trillion spam emails sent in 2010it is like driving around the world twice.

Or let us put it to you in another way:  annually 104 billion user hours go to reading and manually deleting spam – over 4,700 x the man hours spent building the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world.




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Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

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Sure, life doesn’t always go as planned as new opportunities arise or old plans fall through to make way for new ones. However, starting off with an initial idea of how you would like things to pan out always sets you a step ahead of the game. Having a plan for a new marketing campaign will give you an outline to follow even if it is not exact, steering you in the direction of success. This is especially true in the case of social media. With numerous outlets to update on a consistent basis, it is important to lay out a schedule of sorts in order to keep up with your accounts for continued success.


Plan to sets goals.

With a plan in mind, goals can be made. Goals are usually set in stone and change very little, causing you to work off the plan you have created. With social media, because it is an ever changing platform, make sure to set realistic goals. Take Twitter for example. Because of the high drop off rate of users, expecting to jump from 100 followers to 1,000 in a matter of months is simply impossible unless you’re Charlie Sheen, #Winning!


Plan to follow through.

What good is a plan if you do nothing with it? If you have your mind set from the beginning that this plan is going to be pursued with little to no changes, your end results will be more promising. If you have a calendar of topics you want to cover in your blog laid out ahead of time, there is no reason not to post them. Posting a weekly video on your YouTube channel will keep viewers wanting more but falling out of the swing of things because you veered off your planned path will force subscribers to lose interest.


Plan to plan again.

Once you get into the habit of planning, it will come more natural. After seeing the results of your planning efforts, they will give you more incentive to continue down the planning path. Sites such as Social Report, Trackur and others mentioned here are useful tools to monitor the success and activity on your social media sites. This way, you have numbers and actual data to use when setting your future goals, recognizing what worked and what didn’t.


Now get planning!

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How to Love Your Donor

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While Valentine’s Day may be in our rear view mirrors,  it’s never too late to show your donors you care:

1- Thank donors for the same things you asked them for.  (If you asked them to feed a hungry child, don’t thank them for fighting poverty.)

2- Write and design your thanks with just as much passion and precision as you write your ask.  More, if possible.

3- Have a newsletter, and make sure it’s all about the great things your donors are making possible.

4- Try not to have a “Hey, look at us ” brand.   Build your brand around the concrete ways your your donors can change the world by giving to your organization.

5- Give your donors choices about how–how often and what type–you’ll communicate with them.  And don’t wait for them to complain.  Offer choices upfront.

6- Reach out to donors regularly, simply to thank them.  Often, you may encounter cranky, disgruntled donors.  Unfortunately, we less often see the positive signs of these donors.

7- Spread stories of donors who have especially poignant stories to relate.   Don’t emphasize large gifts,  rather stress those who gave in notable and sacrificial ways.


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Cross Media Marketing vs. Static Direct Mail

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Response rates to 1:1 and multi-channel marketing campaigns are dependent on the relevancy of the campaign and vary widely dependent on the campaign and data used.  There are 2 keys to increased results:   the first thing is to consider your target market, the second is your offer.

The more targeted your mailing list is the more successful your campaign will be.  It’s important to collect data at every point possible.  Even if you have no more than a mailing list, by using an offer you can collect relevant information on your prospects to make each leg of your campaign more successful.  Track your click through rates and time spent on each part of the site.  Track how and where your leads are interacting with QR Codes.  The more information you collect, the more targeted your campaign can be, and the higher your RoI will be.  Once you complete one program, you can use the data you collect to make the next more targeted,  leading to a continuously improving response rate.


An offer is an excellent driver to motivate a lead to interact with you.  The offer needs to be relevant to the target market and it needs to include enough of a reward to mediate any risk you are asking the prospect to take.    In short, the offer needs to be targeted based on whether your goal is to acquire new clients or retain and grow current ones.


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