Direct Mail Fundraising For Nonprofit – What You Should Know

 In Direct Mail

Non-profits have increasingly shown tendencies to shy away from direct mail fundraising because it requires the investment of time and money from the start.

Most people will often consider picking other strategies to reach donors, but are they really easy? It takes so much courage to call a donor on phone, although it doesn’t cost as much money. Using email looks easier and is free, but you can’t even guarantee whether they’ll read it.

Direct mail involves a lot of cost and organizations are always thorn between worrying about it cost and strategies. If you are ever worrying about cost or whether you are employing the right strategies, then you should know the following four points about direct mail fundraising:

  1. Every Non-Profit Organization Should Keep Mailing Their House file

Direct mails come in two basic types: house file and prospecting.

Every nonprofit have a donor file where its donors are listed. As long as anybody has donated any gift to the organization before, and their name is listed on the file, any mail you send them is referred to as a mail to your house file.

Prospecting mail on the other hand is sent to a purchased or rented list. The potential donors under this category have never made any donation to your organization, and some probably don’t even  know you.

You already share a special relationship with your donor, irrespective of how small your organization is and as such you should keep in touch with them with direct mail. This will not only help you stay in touch but will also help generate profit for the organization in the long run.

  1. Prospecting Mail Isn’t For Beginners

You need quite a lot of experience to be able to successfully use prospecting mail. The major goal of prospecting mails is to win over the donors and get them added to your house file. At this stage, you are not thinking about immediate profit and so a break even will be just good enough. If your prospecting letter is not good enough, you’ll not convert the donors and that will lead to a lot of lost money.

Wait for your team to gain enough experience before attempting a prospecting mail, or simply higher an agency to do it for you.

  1. Your List Is Gold – Don’t Treat It Like It’s Not.

The easiest way to know who will give to your organization through mail is if they’ve given before. That’s the reason most consultants will rather advice you to treat your house file with utmost priority.

This translates to giving maximum respect to your list. Don’t over stress them by soliciting for donations every week. It also means that you can’t just send mediocre mails to them. Consider sending them well thought mails that will show them that they are relevant as well as compel them enough to act.

  1. Avoid Using Direct Mail, Except You are Ready to Measure and Test

This is a particularly important point, especially if you are going for prospecting mailing. Randomly select a percentage of your prospective donors and send them mails. Wait and observe how successful it will be with them. If your mail is successful with few, them chances exist that it will be successful with many.


Other forms of marketing may make it easier to reach a wider range of audience, but direct mail is certainly better when it comes to pushing your prospective donors to act. It may seem expensive, but in the long run, it guarantees better returns on investment.

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