The Secret to Fundraising Success

How Direct Mail can give you the edge.

Those who dedicate their lives to charity know that fundraising strategy success translates into the ability to do more to achieve positive outcomes. It is a passion project, and the campaigns you create strike to the heart of your cause.

Fundraising strategy has shifted to an increased importance of digital campaigns. For a while, digital had seen its moment in the sun. However, increases in online fraud, cyber security risks and digital clutter have impacted consumer perception of online marketing. As a result, marketers are re-evaluating the benefits of adding the time-tested direct mail strategy into their fundraising toolkit.

Direct Mail has long been viewed as more trustworthy than digital, a significant advantage for charities. Additionally, the tangible and personalized nature of a well-crafted direct mail piece offers benefits that are hard to replicate online and can provide a substantial boost to your fundraising results.

The Power of Personalization

Sending the right message to the right audience at the right time is pivotal in motivating your audience to donate. Mail Automation Programming combined with variable imaging is where direct mail excels. Variable imaging allows you to use the recipient’s name and add personalized graphics, images, and copy throughout your materials to create highly targeted messages. “Mail Automation Programming enables marketers to move beyond demographics and geographic location to identify historical support patterns, apply calculations to show future values, and create customized and relevant content for recipients,” says John Leonard, V.P. Sales and Marketing, Cover-All Business Communication Management. The more personalized the direct mail piece, the stronger the connection you create with the recipient. This connection helps to establish trust and motivates potential donors to engage with your campaign.

The Craft of Storytelling

A well-crafted story conveys the purpose of your fundraising efforts in a way that stirs emotions, generates empathy, and motivates donors to respond to your call for funding. Non-profits that utilize storytelling in their fundraising efforts have a 45% donor retention rate, compared to 27% for organizations that don’t employ storytelling. There is no better way to create a personal connection between your charity and potential donors than by telling true and compelling stories that illuminate the impact of their donations. A genuine connection taps into donors’ emotional needs to be part of something bigger than themselves and has the potential to exceed donation goals when properly crafted.

The Impact of Creative

Design elements, including images, colours, fonts, and paper, can not only grab the recipient’s attention but leave a lasting impression. Colour, for example, can increase brand recognition by up to 80% and helps to reinforce brand attributes. Images are compelling motivators as they impact emotions faster and more powerfully than words. Because images have the ability to change behaviour, they are a pivotal factor in improving response rates. Images immediately and succinctly give the audience a snapshot of the problem your charity is trying to solve. We know from our experiences that some images last with us for a lifetime, can become part of the popular culture and are often the pivotal factor in creating award-winning campaigns.  However, the tangible nature of direct mail creative offers the most significant advantage over digital, with 73% of consumers saying they prefer direct mail for brand communication because it’s more tangible than digital ads. Direct Mail’s tangible nature requires 21% less mental effort to process than digital, making it more memorable and effective.

The Importance of Call-to-action

A clear call to action (CTA) converts an audience to a donor – it closes the deal. Whether you want donors to go online to donate today, buy tickets for a fundraising event, or bid on an item, you need to clarify direction and provide a compelling reason to act. Often, CTA includes a sense of urgency with words including act now, today, and deadline. Benefits can also be offered to those who act within a specific date, such as a stuffed toy for adopting a dolphin, a pin, or a colourful wristband representing the charity to demonstrate their support.

Depending on the demographics of your audience, a donation form with a prepaid postage envelope can give digital leery Baby Boomers the feeling of elevated security. Alternatively, for Generation Z, a more appropriate tactic may be to link consumers to a URL via a QR code. QR codes take donors to an online landing donation page, making interaction between channels effortless.

The Value of Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing, which incorporates both online and offline channels, provides a continuous user experience across the customer journey. “A direct mail piece with a QR code that links back to a landing page can achieve a seamless user experience,” says Leonard. According to a Canada Post study, integrated direct mail campaigns lead to a 40% increase in response rates and a 63% increase in ROI over digital alone. The study revealed that people paid 39% more attention to integrated direct mail and digital campaigns than to single-media digital campaigns and demonstrated 40% higher brand recall.

The Importance of Ongoing Testing

Non-profits that utilize A/B testing to evaluate website traffic, response rates, and donation results can continually refine their campaigns. “Direct Mail is an ideal channel for testing fundraising campaign success rates. Digital printing enables A/B testing of different copy, images, and call to action, to monitor the success of campaigns, allowing you to refine your strategy continually”, says Leonard.

As digital marketing continues to be plagued by a lack of consumer trust and digital overload, Direct Mail offers a strategic channel to re-energize your donation campaigns. With advanced Mail Automation Programming and variable imaging, those who utilize Direct Mail campaigns have a modern edge over digital alone.

John Leonard is V.P., Sales & Marketing for Cover-All Business Communication Management. He works with his team and clients to develop relevant and effective communications by using data and technology. Contact Cover-All Business Communication Management to find out more at (416)752-8100.

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