Great #fundraising article. Two key points: Stories beat stats and Choose the right image. 1. In a well-known study, participants were asked to give based on:A story about one starving child.Statistics about starving childrenA story about a starving child with statistics about starving children.The all-stats/no story version cratered. But so did the story plus the statistics.2. Choose the right image. This is vital -- show the identifiable victim in distress. Feature this image in the appeal, in the response device or online donation page, even on the reply envelope. And include a caption or other wording that reinforces the victim's name and plight.    
"Direct mail is the technique of asking strangers for money through the mail. It is not as easy as many people think. Many people who run organizations think they can write the letter and voila the money pours in. In fact, direct mail is a technique, part art part science. And you can lose your shirt if you don’t know the techniques. But the people who know the techniques are masters at moving the people to action. What direct mail guys know is that people will not act unless there is an emergency that has made them angry or fearful. Nothing else works. "    
More and more non-profits are moving a large portion of their fundraising efforts online, specifically to Facebook. When the build thier fundraising campaign plan, they see Facebook and other online avenues as efficient and inexpensive ways to build support for their non-profits. And in many ways this makes good sense. Facebook is a still free, as is email, twitter, linkedin, and so on. Furthermore, everyone has email, and more and more people, now in the billions, have a Facebook page.   Non-profit Development Directors start to dream very big when they think of Facebook's potential. They look and see their hundreds, or even thousands, of “friends” and imagine a single post leading to thousands of dollars rolling in and a well spring of support for their work and cause.   But does the big “Facebook Campaign” translate into tangible support for a non-profit? Perhaps more importantly, does it lead to donations for your important projects you have coming up?   DIRECT MAIL IS THE ENGINE THAT DRIVES THE TRAIN Facebook, email, and twitter are most certainly fantastic tools for any non-profit, but Direct Mail remains the primary means of building support and raising funds. Any non-profit that wants to find fundraising success and build a consistent flow of revenue, must build a solid Direct Mail Campaign. A recent study showed that 60-80% of all non-profit donations come from Direct Mail. And in spite of a few years where it looked to be in decline, Direct Mail has made a huge comeback in recent years. And when the numbers are broken down, Direct Mail comes out on top, especially when we compare the all-important ROI's of Direct Mail vs Social Media. (Click here to see a recent analysis)   We're tangible beings. We like things we can touch and feel and see. We like the feeling of paper in our hands, and to some degree trust it. And thanks to internet scams and unscrupulous e-marketers many people simply do not trust online solicitations. Direct Mail is something many donors trust and respond to. Its a tool that physically bonds your organization with the client. (To learn about starting a Direct Mail campaign click here)   INTERGRATE, INTEGRATE, INTERGRATE This is not to say that you should discard your online efforts. Not by a long shot. When executing a Non-profit fundraising plan, you should remember, and make every effort to ensure, that all your different avenues of fundraising are working together. All the fundraising strategies must be integrated (Click here to receive a free ebook on optimizing Facebook for non-profits). And remember, there are plenty of fundraising companies for Non-profits that help sculpt effective Non-Profit fundraising strategies.   The key word in the plan is INTEGRATION. Direct Mail, Facebook, email, twitter, and so on should all be working together, supporting one another, and lifting each other up. In the short term, one of these avenues can be seen as competing with the other, but in the long term, if all are working together an increase in one avenue, is often linked to support from another. All ships rise, as they say. Or as IPM says:   In a multi-channel approach, direct mail results may indicate a lower performing channel. However, integrated fundraising examines the contribution direct mail makes to the overall campaign success. In many cases, direct mail may be driving donors to another channel to contribute. Integrated fundraising does not consider each channel’s performance independently, but in terms of its contribution to a campaign’s overall success.   In all marketing, whether its for a business or non-profit, familiarity plays an important role. People want to get to know the organization they are buying from or donating to. That's one reason we see the same commercial over and over again. The same is true for non-profits. If a client sees a post on Facebook about a certain project you are doing, then gets an e-newsletter explaining that project in more detail, they are more likely to read it. Then if they see a twitter post about that project and receive an email with pictures of that project's progress, the all important trust factor is starting to develop. So when the Direct Mail piece comes asking for support, if they are willing to give, they have already gone through their usual research process of giving, and are therefore more likely to give to you.   Single stream messaging is no longer a viable option for non-profits. Every way you have of communicating with your supporters is important and should be utilized at every turn. Keep your messaging consistent – both in look and content. All these avenue are “bonding” opportunities between your charity and your supporters. Facebook (or twitter or email) is a long way from taking over Direct Mail as a means of donor support but it is becoming essential to your overall fundraising efforts and any fundraising campaign plan should make every effort to integrate all thier different avenues.   To learn more about engagement strategies for Facebook, take a look at our new ebook below:  
I have witnessed this too many times to count. "Far too many nonprofits have a plan for their best donors that goes like this: If your giving rises to a certain level, you get "special treatment." So far, so good. But what that means is they get dramatically less contact than they got when they were giving so much they became major donors. They stop getting asked, and many stop giving. If you don't have a plan that you're actually going to fully execute for your best donors -- just leave them be. That's not the best thing to do, but it's far better than going silent. "   Takeaway point. If you get "major" donations via direct mail don't stop sending those donors direct mail. Stop sending them direct mail for three reasons only....and really only the first two. 1. If they ask 2. If they die 3. If their relationship with their Major Gift Officer is so good and contact so frequent and they already told the MGO they would give their large check over lunch next week anyway. You got to dance with the one that brought you Stay with the one that wants you The one who's gonna love you when all of the others go home Shania Twain
  Nearly all stories since ancient times have the same basic ingredients. When you use those ingredients, the stories you tell are more resonant, interesting and thus effective. Here are the basic elements of a story, from Clairification, at Successful Storytelling: 5 Foolproof Ways to Raise Money:   Premise. (What's going on and who's involved. This is the set-up that shows people what the story is "about." Conflict. Start with action. Conflict escalation.  Climax. Resolution.

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