Sorry, but I have to use this venue to rant a little. I recently was working with a client that had temps enter lists of names and addresses from old school lists. There were 16 different schools and the temps created a list of about 2,000 names and addresses for each school. It was done at the schools during the summer months and now they wanted to combine these lists and do a fall appeal.
They wanted to do a personalized letter to all these people, about 30,000. When I suggested that we should hand insert these pieces to make sure that the data was correct, the client said, “Oh, I’m not worried about that.” She actually told me she didn’t care about the data! She didn’t care if the names and addresses were entered correctly, she didn’t care that she was asking someone for money and there was a chance that the name wasn’t spelled correctly and she didn’t want to pay the extra money to make sure that it was done properly, she didn’t care that people would just throw them in the garbage if the salutations weren’t correct. She just didn’t care. And, that’s why her response rate will be so low. If you don’t care about the few crucial elements of direct mail fundraising then you shouldn’t do it.
I realized that she just had a job to do and she was just going to get it out the cheapest way possible. She didn’t care that she could get a better response if she paid a little extra upfront. So I ask you, are you only concerned about the cost per piece to send out your annual fund appeals? Or, are you one of the smart ones that have figured out if you do it right, you’ll get a better response? Direct mail should be the grassroots of your fundraising program and if you’re not doing it correctly, it will show.