Kimberly Seville | Targeting Marketing Group
The following is an excerpt from “The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising,” the new 131-page report from DirectMarketingIQ. It includes 9 chapters, from leading fundraisers, on channel selection, messaging, direct mail, email, mobile, social media, multichannel renewal, multichannel testing and more.
There’s no “one size fits all” set of best practices when it comes to direct mail programs. So much depends on the size of your budget and what type of program you’re managing. Programs with heavy use of free gifts and premiums are wired very differently from those with few or no premium offers, for example.
That said, whether you have a really small direct mail program or a multimillion-dollar behemoth to manage, there are some things you should do regardless. Innovations in the tools and technology we use may give us new and better ways of fund-raising, but human behavior is more of a constant and fairly predictable. Good marketing can always be counted on to move people to give and take action, and good donor care helps keep them with you.
So, How Are Your Manners?
- How long does it take you to cash a check? How long after that until you send a thank-you? Commit to getting your gift acknowledgment process down to days, not weeks. You have a limited window in which to tap in to your donors’ good feelings about making a gift, and the longer it takes you to thank them, the more you jeopardize getting another donation.
- If you have a back-end premium offer, how long does it take you to get those items into your donors’ mailboxes? If it takes you three months to fulfill your promise, by then the donors’ glittery good feelings about giving you their money are long gone.
- Periodically, make sure your timeline remains realistic. Have people make donations and report in on their experience. You might be surprised at what you find.. It’s a good way to discover where problems are in your program and gives you actionable information.
- Acknowledge gifts sent by mail with mail. An email or text thank-you for online and mobile gifts is a no-brainer, but test the impact of following it up with a second appreciative expression of your thanks in the mail.
- Go the distance for your high-dollar donors. Pick up the phone and call people who make large gifts to thank them, in addition to sending acknowledgments in the mail. One organization found that thank-you calls doubled subsequent giving for certain donor segments.