If you’re interested in stepping up your nonprofit marketing & fundraising efforts, look no further! The Paw Print Blog is full of tips to help your nonprofit raise money, develop your brand, and grow your donor base.
Personal. Reliable. Trustworthy. Useful. These are all words that have recently been used to describe direct mail. Direct mail is a powerful marketing and fundraising tool. A key to its success lies in tracking response and measuring results. If you have no way of knowing what a recipient does once they receive your mailer, you can’t know the true value that mailer holds for your target audience. So, what do we measure? And how do we make mail trackable and measurable? The following measurements and tracking strategies can apply to for profit businesses and nonprofit organizations alike.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t give is from a feeling of futility—how can my contribution really make a difference?
To turn this feeling around, you must show a donor how important they as an individual are to your cause. A personal way to do so that continues to get results is direct mail. A direct mail piece that sends the right message, to the right recipient, at the right time, is a compelling and effective way to connect with your target audience.
But what makes a powerful mail piece?
Let’s look at a recent appeal mailing from Giffords PAC, an organization working to end gun violence founded by former Congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabby Giffords.
Storytelling is an essential and ancient part of human communication. Before the advent of writing, detailed stories were told orally, passed from generation to generation. Stories hold meaning for cultures, reflecting their histories, beliefs, and customs. We tell stories to learn, build relationships, and make sense of the world around us.
In fact, our brains are programmed to recognize patterns and find meaning in those patterns. A story is a kind of pattern, and stories are an effective marketing tool that you can use to build connection with your audience.
There are good stories, and then there are great stories, the ones we remember. But what makes a compelling, memorable story?
Charitable giving has long been a part of the human experience. The first record of individuals giving back was in 2500 BCE, when the Hebrews instated a mandatory tax used to benefit the poor. In the U.S., philanthropy dates to 1643, when Harvard held the first American fundraising drive, raising 500 pounds.
In 2016, a total of $390.05 billion was gifted to charities around the world. The history of charitable giving is not only long, but full of change. And it’s not done changing yet.
The fundraising landscape is constantly shifting, as new technologies and demographic trends affect both the ways donors give and who is giving. A recent trend is the dominance of the “Modern Donor.”
The 2018 Modern Donor Contours Report describes this group as a combination of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennial donors. Modern Donors have taken over the giving process from the Silent Generation, donors age 72 and over. This group has defined the giving process in the past. But younger generations are changing the methods the average donor uses to give and the ways that nonprofits need to fundraise.
Promotional products have been around for a long time. And they’re becoming ever more prevalent and desired. 80% of us have at least one promotional product, and over half will use that item at least once per week. Promo is a sure-fire way to enhance marketing strategy, helping nonprofits to achieve goals and generate more fundraising dollars.
One of the biggest hurdles of direct mail? Getting people to open the envelope.
Postcards and self-mailers have the advantage of standalone, eye catching content. The graphics are immediately visible, compelling the recipient to read on.
But for many mail pieces, an envelope is essential. Using an envelope doesn’t have to be limiting, however. In fact, today’s printing technology allows envelopes to be more personalized and attractive than ever before. Customization turns envelopes from basic commodities to effective direct marketing tools.
Why Direct Mail?
In our digitally saturated world, direct mail stands out:
Consumers regularly rate direct mail as more personal than email
When you consider the word “branding,” what comes to mind? You may think of well-known companies like Apple or Target, that advertise on a large scale and whose characteristics are immediately recognizable to most of us, who come into frequent contact with them.
But the concept of branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for large companies. And, it’s an essential piece of increasing awareness for nonprofits as well.
The obvious reason for nonprofit organizations to spread awareness of their brand is to increase donations and build a reliable donor base. However, according to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, many nonprofits are stepping up their brand management in order “to explore the wider, strategic roles that brands can play: driving broad long-term social goals, while strengthening internal identity, cohesion, and capacity.”
Why Should You Build a Brand?
Like any other entity, your nonprofit has a unique set of goals, characteristics, and stories. When you bring these together to form a recognizable and repeatable persona, you have a brand. The first thing most people think of when they hear the word brand or branding, is an entity’s logo. While this is one branding element, it’s only the beginning. The style, graphics, and words your organization uses to communicate all convey your brand.
Donor acquisition is one of the most important functions of nonprofit fundraising. Your donors make the good work you do possible. Without a regular and tactical practice of enlisting new donors , both socially and financially, your organization would be challenged to stay afloat.
It goes without saying that stewarding your current donor base is essential—they’re the ones who’ve continued to champion your cause and are more likely to give consistently, and grow their gifts, over time.
Conversely, compelling new donors to give is more difficult than maintaining a relationship with a regular donor. However, it’s important to not leave donor acquisition efforts for hard times. Your donor base is constantly changing, and your approach to acquiring new donors should be constant as well.
It’s a question that marketers and fundraisers regularly ask themselves. You may have a general idea of the types of people who are purchasing your products or giving to your cause. But crafting compelling messages requires a deeper knowledge of what resonates with your constituents. The most effective campaigns are those that reach people on a relevant, personal level.