Nonprofit organizations need to have good fundraising strategies in place to keep operations in motion. These often begin with a reliable donation management platform. Without effective storage for previous contributor data, nonprofits would be unable to work on fundraising initiatives at all. Many charitable organizations still rely on direct mail for a significant portion of fundraising efforts. While some organizations are moving away from this model to more digital strategies, direct mail still appears to work.

paper-based direct mail seems like an outmoded practice

While paper-based mail seems like an outmoded practice for nonprofits, it’s still effective. A 2012 survey from Epsilon found that direct mail is the way U.S. and Canadian consumers prefer to receive communications from charitable causes. More than 70 percent of U.S. consumers agreed and 67 percent of Canadian consumers said they prefer to receive communications this way because they can read them at their convenience. An additional benefit of paper-based mailings could be that they tend to linger in the home environment, allowing recipients to engage with them multiple times.

Fundraising Success Magazine provided an overview of some of the suggestions that came up during the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Fundraising Day in New York conference. Here are five of the guidelines that came up:

  • Write compelling mail – Make sure your mail is worth reading. According to Fundraising Success Magazine, including statistics, facts and figures will make your messages more interesting.
  • Make it easy to read –  Rather than filling the page with text, incorporate elements that will make the letter easier on the eyes. Use headings and bullet points to draw the eye and include high-quality photographs to break up space.
  • Keep an eye out for stories – To keep your messages populated with stories about your organization, scan newspapers and talk to staff and volunteers to find anecdotes to share.
  • Personalize campaigns – Top donors from previous years can contribute significantly to current fundraising goals. You should treat these individuals as though they are the backbone of your fundraising efforts since they are. Personalize messages by the first name to make recipients feel more special.
  • Continue to evaluate campaigns – Maintain data on the success of campaigns and determine which segments continue to be profitable. In addition, try out different versions of mailings to see which ones perform better. While your messages are paper-based, you still have access to technology that can help you measure performance. Use it!

The importance of donation management

As you may notice, it becomes nearly impossible to follow best practices for direct mail campaigns without using donation management software. While paper-based mail may still be effective, nonprofits need to think carefully before managing their own internal processes using paper rather than cloud-based solutions. Personalization and other targeted campaigns won’t be effective if they utilize old data. To demonstrate your nonprofit is on top of things, make sure you keep your donor database updated consistently. Donation management platforms like CommunityForce’s make this task easier to accomplish by streamlining communication and enabling effective data storage.