5 Direct Mail Fundraising Strategies that Work

Direct mail isn’t old fashioned. Mixing direct mail fundraising with your digital marketing strategy is a combination that can’t be beat! 35% of donors say they prefer to respond to direct mail by giving digitally, and 50% of donors say they will respond to a direct mail appeal if they see the same call to action online - demonstrating the power of integrated campaigns!

Many people still value print marketing, premiums and bounce-backs, and using it alongside your digital messaging only strengthens your campaign. When approaching your direct mail fundraising strategy, think of how you can create a genuine connection with your recipient. You are, after all, delivering a letter right to their door. 

Try These 5 Direct mail Strategies for Nonprofits


Make it Personal

Every good fundraiser knows the importance of relationship building with donors. People need to feel a connection with your cause and organization to feel motivated to give. Before you even start writing your message, you need to know exactly who your audience is and what they value. 

Many different things influence fundraising preferences, and holding regular surveys or being an active listener can give you vital information on how your donors think. This is where your messaging stems from so it has to be accurate. Personalized messaging is shown to deliver higher response rates and be more cost-effective. So put your CRM to work by keeping track of your donor’s interests and creating segments! 

Before you send out a survey, one tip is to consider sending out different survey links by segment, which allows you to perform some analysis within your survey tool.  Also, think about how the questions are being framed and how the data is being captured to allow you to import the survey responses directly into the responder’s record.  This will enable you to report on feedback based on all kinds of different data points that give you all kinds of fantastic insights to put into action!

Take Advantage of a Donor CRM

Having a donor database provides a ton of benefits, specifically when it comes to large campaigns. It allows you and your team to easily manage and filter through data.

As mentioned above, so many demographic factors play a role in how people choose to give, so it’s essential to keep it all in one place to be efficient. Having CRM software doesn’t just help with fundraising. It can save you a ton of time and money in the long run. 

Pro Tip: A frequent issue with donor data is a change of address. 14% of people will move in a year and so it’s important to make sure you have the correct place of residence before sending you a letter!

Use Integrated Multichannel Marketing 

People will need to touch base with your organization’s message several times before taking action. Diversifying your campaign through different channels is the best way to get your messages seen. Each digital and physical marketing platform has its advantages and disadvantages that can project your campaign.  Remember to keep your campaign message and branding consistent so the same story is amplified. Don't forget a clear call to action so it's as easy as possible for your supporters to get involved. 

For example, you can use SEO and social media to drive people to your website, which will ask them to join a mailing list, which can then prompt them to donate. This will give you their mailing information to be steward through direct mail in the future. You can create custom URL and QR codes that donors can scan to take them right to websites that further your campaign’s narrative.
There is so much technology out there that it’s easy to get lost in the digital world, but finding a balance in both print and digital solicitations will deliver the best rewards. 

Reach Out to Both Existing and Potential Donors 

Create different strategies and messaging, depending on your donor segments. Mail for existing donors should look very different from those for potential donors because there are at different stages of the giving journey. 

Don’t approach them as solely funding sources for your organization. You want to either reassure that they made the right voice in supporting you or why they should take a chance on you. As the year comes to an end, now is the perfect time to send personalized postcards, thank you letters or good wishes for the holiday season. Show gratitude for your supporters by reaching out with a physical token of your appreciation. 

Make Urgent and Relevant Calls to Action

Once you have connected to your donor’s hearts with a thoughtful, direct mail appeal, you must include a call to action. Communicate your goals and invite your donors to join the fight against your cause. Create tangible next steps like suggested donation amounts, a URL to visit for more information to guide your donors on what to do next. 

There needs to be a balance between telling a story and motivating the reader to take action. Be honest about how they can help you and what areas projects need the most support as the year comes to an end. Aim to focus your appeal’s language around the "you,” speaking directly to the reader communicating how and why their donation will make a difference. 

Also consider how to present your gift array for both monthly and one time gifts.  By segmenting by donor level, you can ask for different amounts depending on past giving information.  Make a special ask to encourage monthly donors and highlight this option as a very meaningful way to give. 


Direct mail should not be taken for granted. By delivering a personalized and powerful story with a strong call to action, you are sure to get the best return rate on your direct mail fundraising efforts. Use your CRM to create donor segments and determine gift arrays based on historical giving patterns and keeping track of the recipient’s addresses. 

Donor Engine is built to help you with your direct mail campaigns. You can easily segment and merge donors, seamlessly track direct mail, create templates and send receipts all from one platform. Our software was built with ease of use and efficiency in mind and has helped organizations grow their revenue by 72%!

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By on Nov 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

Marketing,Donor Relations,Fundraising

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