Motivating a stranger to give his money way is likely to be one of the most difficult jobs around and it gets even tougher when you have to do this in a fundraising letter. But once you learn how to employ some of the already tested methods, you will be able to raise the necessary funds in a direct mail campaign. Making your fundraising message relevant to your potential donor, using the so-called make-a-difference speech, empowering your potential donors, showing them how your previous donations are put to work and appealing to your donor’s head and heart are among the best ways to motivate people to give money to your fundraising cause.
However, there are also some deadly mistakes when it comes to direct mail fundraising letters and once you are get familiar with them, you will know how to avoid them in your future fundraising campaigns. The first mistake you can make is forgetting to ask for the necessary gift. You must not assume that each of your donors is going to know exactly what you want from him. So, you will have to ask for a gift for your fundraising campaign and make sure that you include the necessary reply envelope in order to make things easier for your potential donors.
Using a dirty list is the second mistake you are likely to make when using a direct mail campaign. So, you will have to make sure that your list is clean at all costs in order to ensure the future success of each of your appeals. For instance, you should run this list through the so-called NCOA update in order to have all the addresses updated and always correct all the addresses of people who have moved. Failing to personalize your fundraising letter is another deadly mistake as it can send the wrong fundraising message.
For instance, your potential donor may feel insulted because you are not using his name. Also, you should use a window envelope that comes with your donor’s name and address. Bad timing could also be a problem as timing is likely to be everything when it comes to direct mail. Make sure that you send your direct mails at the best time and keep them coordinated with the rest of your fundraising activities in order to maximize the necessary media exposure. Asking for a wrong amount of money is a mistake as well and you will have to make sure you are not asking for too little or too much. Make sure that the amount of money you are asking for is something meaningful for your fundraising cause.
Another mistake you must avoid making is ignoring automation benefits. So, if you want to take the best out of the current postage rates, you will have to provide each of your return envelopes with the appropriate postal marking. Keep in mind that the color, shape and size of your return envelopes are all to be considered for the current USPS regulations. So, by planning your direct mailing with a reliable and knowledgeable mailer is going to save you extra money on return postage.