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 Feb 11, 2006 09:11 PST 

By: Berwyn J. Kemp

A good annual direct mail solicitation program can produce
unrestrictive operating funds for your nonprofit organization
year after year. And such an annual direct mail program, if done
right, should produce more funding for your organization each

There are very few nonprofit organizations that couldnít benefit
from an effective, and ongoing direct mail solicitation program.
If youíre currently using annual direct mail solicitations and
would like to use it more effectively, or if youíre not using
this form of fundraising but would like to set up such a program.
Then here are some steps to help you do this much more

1. Expand your mailing list or build one if youíre just starting
your direct mail program. To do this ask yourself: Who are the
most likely people to support your organizations financially? If
you are already using direct mail the answer to this questions
should be obvious to you, in which case you need to find more of
these kinds of people. Some of the many ways to do this are using
compiled lists, rented or leased lists of people who support
similar causes and etc. If you arenít using direct mail now then
start with users of your services and/or friends and family
members of users of your services, then explore complied, and
rented or leased lists next.

2. Prepare a powerful direct mail package to solicit your list,
which will include an appeal letter, and response form, a reply
envelop, and of course an outer envelop to mail your package in
that has the full legal name of your organization on it. Too in
preparing your appeal letter by sure to make them emotional,
interesting, and personal, and keep the focus of this letter on
how those you serve will benefits from the gift as well as how
the donor will benefit also. And always ask for their gift.

3. Make a test mailing of your direct mail package to your donor
prospect list, and keep in mind that in direct mail solicitations
all new mailings are a test. So donít invest large sums of money
into this endeavor until youíre relatively sure that you can get
a good return on your investment. Whether you are currently using
direct mail or not, all your new mailings are for finding whatís
called "new acquisitions" which are needed by you to obtain more
funds from your direct mail program each year.

4. Evaluate very carefully the results of each of your test
mailings for new donor acquisitions, and if your mailing earns a
slight profit, simply breaks even, or perhaps even loses a little
money you may be able to still call your test a success. In fact,
if you spend $1.25 or a little more for every dollar you raise
consider your test a success, because when you renew these
donors, that is mail to them again, you can easily get 80-90% of
them to make another gift. This is where youíll really earn your
profits from direct mail solicitations.

5. Build upon your direct mail successes by "renewing" your
donors each year, that is getting them to make another gift. And
continue to seek new donors to keep your direct mail list growing
and more profitable each year, because if you donít continue to
build your list it will grow smaller each year since donors move
and stop giving for a variety of reasons.

Yes a good annual direct mail program can produce a regular and
growing source of revenue for your organization year after when
this fundraising methods is effectively used. Now use these steps
to help you set up, or expand your annual direct mail
solicitation program to raise more of the funds you need to
better serve those who need you.

Berwyn J. Kemp is a fundraising consultant who helps nonprofit
organizations obtain funding. For full details on his funding products,
or to read more of his re-printable articles you can visit:
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