Direct Mailing Campaigns

Direct mail fundraising programs have long been prophesied to dissipate and disappear, but in light of recent studies, fundraisers are finding that this is far from the truth. While there is an increase in the amount of fundraising done through social media (Internet, websites, blogs, Facebook, etc), there’s no denying that paper still has a significant force in donor development.

So, what does direct mailing do that the other stuff doesn’t?

Direct mailing gives you a list, a fairly concrete list, of consistent donors. This information should be held in a donor database that will enable you to track trends and retain the data you need. You can find great information on various databases at TechSoup.org.

A direct mailing campaign provides regular revenue for your organization. You may not get a lot of response in the mail, but recent figures show that just over 1 in 3 donors have given to an organization online after receiving a direct mail letter. The percentage of donors giving online in response to direct mail gets larger as the age decreases, but the trend is getting stronger. Stumped on how you can track this? Try putting a “Giving Code” on each of your mailings. Recommend that the donor put that code in the memo line of the check they send in the mail. They can easily do this through their online banking system as well. Also, be sure to include a space on the donation page of your organization’s website to place this code. This way, you can have an easy way to track the source of that donation. Create codes for different methods too, such as a Facebook Code, Twitter Code, and website. Make sure it’s nothing complicated so that the donor can easily transfer it to whichever method they choose to give. The results may surprise you.

Direct mailing builds brand awareness in the community in which you serve. You can have all the presence online in the world, but if people don’t know who you are, they aren’t going to give. Have a professional design your logo, develop a short but informative tag line and invest in quality marketing materials. Even if they do not give right away, you are still increasing the awareness of your organization.

And lastly, direct mailing develops a base for future planned donors and major gifts. Many studies have demonstrated that those who give generously to organizations have developed a long history with that organization. That history was often established through direct mail campaigns.

 So, do not throw out your direct mail fundraising campaigns. It might seem like it costs too much to do, but the payoff is much greater than you may anticipate.

 You can read more about Direct Mail Fundraising campaigns here:
Fundraising Fundamentals

Big Things Can Come in Small Packages

Mantis Shrimp 
 
Do you know what animal possesses the strongest and fastest punch?  The kangaroo, right?  That’s what I thought when I was asked the question, but it is, in fact, a member of the Crustacean subphylum.  This creature is only around 4 inches long, about the length of my thumb to my wrist, and its arms are even smaller than that.  It is the Mantis Shrimp.  These are not actually shrimp and just take that name because they look like both a praying mantis and a shrimp. 
 
Now, the mantis shrimp is amazing because, despite its small size, it has some incredible arms. There are two types of mantis shrimp, the spearers and the smashers, and I’m sure you can use your imagination as to how the arms are shaped to justify such a name. The amazing thing about these arms is not how they are shaped or even used, but how they are made.  When the shrimp pulls back its arm into a resting position, it actually locks into place.  The muscles build up tension and energy until the shrimp needs it.  Located in the joint is a bone-spring, shaped kind of like a Pringle chip, that increases the force of that energy.  When it is released, the arm shoots out from the body with the speed and strength of a rifle bullet!
 
I know, you’re thinking, “Well this is interesting, but I didn’t come here for a science lesson.”  But I want to ask you a question.  During the time following the Haitian earthquake crisis, how many of you saw a commercial filled with pictures of the devastation ended with a “Text HAITI to 909##” to make a donation?  Microdonations through mGive’s texting campaign brought in over $8 million within three days with just $10/text to the Red Cross.  Compounded by a Twitter/Facebook onslaught of tweets and posts, the campaign ran like wildfire. 
 
When checking out the Mobile Giving Foundation website, you’ll notice that to put on a full-on texting campaign takes quite a bit of funding to start with, but the concept is not so pricey.  Small donations may not seem like they’ll make a big impact, but with the economic condition of our nation, givers are more likely to give in smaller increments over a longer period of time than large lump sums.  Multiple small donations can become a large amount when brought in bulk.  Many organizations are choosing to run blitz campaigns with heavy exposure on social networking sites.  Convenience is one of the biggest aspects for running such a campaign.  You can get all the exposure you want, but if giving to your cause is not an easy and simple process, you’ll never get the results for which you are hoping.
 
Here are some tools to check out:
 
Mobile Giving Foundation (Text-campaigns)
http://www.mgive.com
4 a Good Cause – Online Payments/Donations
http://www.4agoodcause.com/accept-payments-online.aspx

 

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