How Fundraisers Are Tripling Their Campaign Performance

INTRODUCTION

Are you ready to revolutionize your fundraising efforts? Discover the power of donor segmentation, personalized messaging, and captivating storytelling to unlock unparalleled success in your campaigns. Engage donors, maximize impact, and foster long-term relationships for your organization. In fact, a recent direct mail handwritten fundraising campaign we did for NYU “beat the control 3 to 1.” And yet another recent campaign done for Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston found that “donors who received a personal note gave nearly 20% more than those who did not!”. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to amplify your campaign reach and maximize your impact!

Key Topics

1. How do you Personalize Targeted Direct Mail Campaigns?

2. How to Effectively Employ Storytelling in Mail Campaigns?

3. How can Mail Piece Design Improve Campaign Performance?

4. How to Increase Effectiveness of Omni-Channel Direct Mail Campaigns?

5. How to Follow-up a Direct Mail Campaign?

Triple Campaign Performance with Handwritten Mail and Stewardship

1. How do you Personalize Targeted Direct Mail Campaigns?

At Postalgia, we recognize that donor segmentation is the key to successful fundraising campaigns. By tailoring your messages to resonate with each demographic, you can create a deep and meaningful connection with your supporters. Every communication should make your donors feel valued and appreciated. That’s why it is important to incorporate donor-specific information into your handwritten letters. Whether it’s mentioning a previous donation, acknowledging their specific interests, or simply using their name, a personalized approach creates a powerful bond between your organization and its supporters.

It is important to align donation requests with donor preferences and giving capacity. Ensure your team crafts customized donation appeals that are not only compelling but also considerate of each donor’s unique circumstances. Analyze your donors giving histories and patterns to ensure that your requests are tailored to maximize engagement and increase the likelihood of a positive response.

REMEMBER THE YOUNG DONORS!

Developing effective follow-up strategies is crucial when cultivating and maintaining relationships with donors, especially when targeting younger demographics. It is vital not to overlook the potential of younger donors and actively engage them in philanthropic efforts. Encouraging smaller donations and active participation in campaigns, while also providing volunteer opportunities, creates a sense of ownership and pride in their contributions! Incorporating digital elements such as QR codes, online giving portals, and having a social media presence, can make it convenient and accessible for younger donors to contribute and engage with your cause. These strategies enable fundraisers to build lasting connections with younger supporters, ensuring their long-term involvement in fundraising efforts.
young man telling a story

2. How to Effectively Employ Storytelling in Mail Campaigns?

One powerful approach is to create an emotional connection by sharing genuine stories  that evoke emotions and resonate with donors. By sharing narratives that tug at heartstrings, you can create a sense of empathy and inspire action. Whether it’s through personal testimonials, heartfelt anecdotes, or compelling case studies, these stories should showcase the impact of the cause in a way that resonates with donors’ values and experiences.

When it comes to effective communication, authenticity and transparency are paramount. Fundraisers should share real-life experiences and factual information to demonstrate their commitment to transparency. By providing donors with clear and honest insights into the organization’s work, fundraisers can establish credibility and foster trust. Donors want to know that their contributions are making a difference, so it is crucial to communicate the real impact of their support. Presenting clear goals and outcomes is crucial for fundraisers to engage donors effectively. Sharing measurable objectives and progress toward those goals allows donors to understand the tangible difference their contributions can make. When donors see the direct connection between their support and the outcomes they care about, they are more motivated to invest in the cause.

Including personal anecdotes in storytelling helps fundraisers create relatable connections with donors. By sharing stories of individuals connected to the cause, whether they are beneficiaries, volunteers, or donors themselves, fundraisers can humanize the impact of their work. These relatable stories bring the cause to life and allow donors to connect on a deeper level. When donors can see the real faces and experiences behind the statistics, they are more likely to feel a personal attachment to the cause and be inspired to contribute.

Fundraisers should actively seek feedback from donors and share donor stories and testimonials. By inviting donors to share their experiences and perspectives, fundraisers show that their opinions matter. Sharing donor testimonials not only provides social proof but also allows donors to become advocates for the cause. These stories and feedback strengthen the relationship between fundraisers and supporters, fostering a sense of community and shared commitment.

designing a mail piece

3. How can Mail Piece Design Improve Campaign Performance?

When it comes to mail-piece design, fundraisers have the opportunity to create impactful and compelling materials that resonate with donors. To capture your audience’s attention, it is crucial to incorporate visuals that stand out. Whether it’s vibrant colors, striking images, or unique illustrations, the design should immediately catch the eye and pique the recipient’s curiosity. Creating visually captivating designs, increases the chance of mail pieces that get opened and read.

Pairing attention-grabbing visuals with compelling headlines is a winning combination. The headline should be engaging and thought-provoking, motivating the recipient to delve further into the mail piece. It should create intrigue and clearly communicate the purpose of the campaign.

Clear and concise messaging is essential to ensure that the campaign’s purpose and call to action are communicated effectively. Fundraisers should aim to convey the core message in a concise manner, using straightforward and impactful language. By clearly articulating the purpose, fundraisers can ensure that recipients understand the campaign’s mission and know how they can contribute.

Maintaining a consistent visual identity throughout your mail-piece is important for brand recognition and cohesion. Fundraisers should incorporate consistent branding elements such as colors, fonts, and logos in their mail piece designs. Consistency creates a sense of professionalism and trust, reinforcing the organization’s identity and making it easily recognizable to donors.

To make the campaign stand out, fundraisers should incorporate unique design elements that differentiate their mail pieces from others. Creativity and innovation can leave a lasting impression. Whether it’s using unconventional layouts, interactive elements, or incorporating unexpected materials, unique design elements can make the campaign memorable and increase donor engagement.

Visual hierarchy plays a crucial role in guiding the recipient’s attention to key information. Always consider design principles such as size, color, and placement to emphasize the most important messages and calls to action. By creating a clear visual hierarchy, fundraisers ensure that recipients can easily grasp the main points of the mail piece and understand the desired actions.

Readability is essential for effective mail-piece design. Always ensure that the design is easy to read and understand at a glance. Using legible fonts, appropriate font sizes, and clear formatting will enhance readability. By making the content easily accessible, fundraisers increase the likelihood of recipients engaging with the mail piece and taking action.
Discover the power of donor segmentation, personalized messaging, and captivating storytelling to unlock unparalleled success in your campaigns.

typing on laptop

4. How to Increase Effectiveness of Omni-Channel Direct Mail Campaigns?

It is essential to embrace technological advancements rather than resist them. We believe that integrating digital components into your mail pieces can revolutionize your fundraising efforts. By incorporating digital elements into your direct mail, such as scannable QR codes, it provides seamless access to online platforms and makes engagement effortless.

One key aspect of omni-channel campaigns is data integration. Fundraisers can synchronize data from direct mail and digital channels to gain a comprehensive view of donor engagement. By leveraging the data collected from multiple channels, fundraisers can gain valuable insights into donor preferences, behaviours, and interactions. This data-driven approach enables fundraisers to tailor their messaging and strategies more effectively.

Personalized follow-ups are another significant benefit of omni-channel direct mail campaigns. With digital channels, fundraisers can deliver personalized messages based on donor actions. By tracking donor engagements, fundraisers can segment their donors and send targeted follow-up messages that resonate with individual interests and motivations. This personalization enhances the donor experience and strengthens the relationship between organization and donor.

Incorporating scannable QR codes in direct mail pieces is a valuable technique in omni-channel campaigns. QR codes provide a convenient and quick way for donors to access online platforms. By scanning the code with their smartphones, donors can be directed to dedicated landing pages, online donation forms, or specific campaign websites. This integration of offline and online channels simplifies the donor’s journey and encourages them to engage further with the cause.

Handwritten Thank You Card Yellow

5. How to Follow-up a Direct Mail Campaign?

Follow-up strategies are crucial for fundraisers to maintain and strengthen relationships with their donors. Expressing gratitude is a fundamental aspect of effective follow-up. Personalized thank-you letters should be sent to donors, acknowledging their contributions and expressing sincere appreciation for their support. By personalizing these letters, fundraisers can demonstrate the individual impact of each donor’s generosity, making them feel valued and recognized.

In addition to personalized thank-you letters, regular newsletters serve as a valuable tool for keeping donors informed about the campaign’s achievements and future plans. These newsletters can highlight the tangible outcomes made possible by donors’ contributions, reinforcing the value of their support. Sharing impact reports further enhances this effect, providing concrete evidence of how donors’ contributions have made a difference in the lives of those benefiting from the cause. By demonstrating the direct impact of their support, fundraisers can reinforce the donors’ connection to the organization and inspire them to continue their involvement.

To foster ongoing engagement, fundraisers can provide exclusive updates or behind-the-scenes content to donors. This approach makes donors feel like valued members of the organization’s community, keeping them engaged and invested in the cause. Hosting special events exclusively for supporters offers a unique opportunity to deepen their connection to the cause. These events can provide a platform for members to interact with the organization’s team and beneficiaries directly, strengthening their emotional connection and encouraging ongoing support.

Collecting feedback from donors through surveys is invaluable for understanding their preferences, improving the donor experience, and enhancing future campaigns. These surveys provide an opportunity for donors to share their thoughts and suggestions, ensuring that their voices are heard and their needs are met. By actively seeking and implementing donor feedback, fundraisers can strengthen relationships and create a donor-centric approach to their work.

 

CONCLUSION

Successful fundraising campaigns require a targeted and personalized approach that resonates with donors. Compelling storytelling, authenticity, and clear goals are key elements in effective communication. When it comes to mail piece design, attention-grabbing visuals, compelling headlines, and clear messaging make a lasting impact. Omni-channel direct mail campaigns, incorporating digital components and data integration, enhance donor engagement. Follow-up strategies, including gratitude, regular newsletters, exclusive updates, events, and donor feedback, strengthen relationships and foster ongoing engagement. By embracing these strategies, fundraisers can drive meaningful impact and cultivate lasting connections with their supporters.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Postalgia Goes to the National Postal Forum!

INTRODUCTION

The National Postal Forum (NPF) is a premier event that brings together professionals from the postal and shipping industry, and this year, we were thrilled to be first-time attendees and exhibitors. We aimed to make a lasting impression with our booth showcasing our innovative handwriting robots. In this blog post, we will take you through our experience at the NPF 2023 and the valuable lessons we learned as pioneers in the personalized direct mail industry.

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OUR BOOTH

As first-time exhibitors, our creative marketing team took great care in designing our booth to make a memorable impression. Our booth’s centrepiece was one of our handwriting robots, perfectly showcasing the essence of our business – infusing a personal touch into direct mail campaigns. Attendees were captivated by the sight of the robot meticulously replicating the art of handwritten mail. The robot’s precision, speed, and flawless execution of penmanship demonstrated the potential for scaling the personalization of direct mail campaigns to new heights. Visitors were not only impressed by the efficiency of the technology but also by the human-like quality of the handwritten letters.

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WORKSHOPS/TALKS 

We eagerly attended the various workshops and talks offered at the NPF 2023. While we were passionate about showcasing our handwriting robots, we recognized the importance of staying up-to-date with industry trends and expanding our knowledge base. We actively participated in workshops and talks centered around direct mail marketing, customer engagement, and emerging technologies. These sessions allowed us to learn from experts, gain insights into market demands, and explore strategies to enhance our personalized direct mail solutions.

BUILDING CONNECTIONS 

The NPF provided us with an incredible platform to connect with like-minded professionals, potential clients, and partners. As pioneers in the personalized direct mail industry, we were excited to share our expertise and build valuable relationships. Our booth and team members drew a steady stream of visitors eager to learn about our services. These interactions allowed us to engage in meaningful conversations, showcase the power of personalized direct mail, and demonstrate how our handwriting robots could transform marketing campaigns. The connections we forged during the event have the potential to foster collaborations and drive the industry forward.

Our COO Leor Mann meeting the Postmaster General – Louis Dejoy

Leor got paid a visit by the Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy! Leor had a conversation about what we do at Postalgia and provided an explanation about our handwriting technology and how our machines work.

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Our CSO Shay Mamo being interviewed by Matt Wolfe from ABC Radio

Shay had the opportunity to speak to Matt Wolfe in a radio interview for ABC Radio about the remarkable impact of handwritten letters in today’s digital age. Shay emphasized that amidst the overwhelming stream of digital messages and ads, a handwritten letter stands out as a beautifully personalized and attention-grabbing communication medium. The interview highlights how Postalgia provides this game changing service of handwritten letters to cut through the noise and leave a lasting impression on recipients.

 

WHAT WE LEARNED

The National Postal Forum provided valuable insights into the future of direct mail marketing, highlighting its continued significance despite the digital age. The event showcased innovative strategies and technologies reshaping the industry, such as interactive mailpieces and omni-channel mail campaigns. It also emphasized the rise of a new generation of marketers, bringing fresh perspectives and expertise in digital integration for personalized campaigns. Our booth grabbed the attention of many attendees because the service we provide was seen as unique and valuable, as it adds an extra touch of authenticity to any mailpiece. The forums emphasized the pivotal role of data collection and analysis in creating targeted and personalized direct mail experiences, enabling marketers to refine strategies and optimize campaign performance. Overall, the National Postal Forum shed light on the exciting future of direct mail marketing, demonstrating its ability to engage customers and drive remarkable outcomes.

 

CONCLUSION

The National Postal Forum 2023 served as an exceptional platform for us to showcase our personalized direct mail solutions with handwriting robots. Our booth garnered a steady stream of visitors, allowing us to demonstrate the influential role of personalized communication in direct mail campaigns. We took advantage of the workshops and talks offered, enriching our knowledge and keeping abreast of industry trends, which in turn helped us refine our strategies. Furthermore, establishing connections with industry peers, potential clients, and partners solidified our position as leaders in the field of personalized direct mail marketing.

The event provided us with an ideal opportunity to engage with a diverse range of professionals, exchange ideas, and learn from experts in the field. The interactions and insights gained at the National Postal Forum will undoubtedly shape our future endeavours as we continue to innovate and push the boundaries as a hand written letter service provider. Overall, our experience at the forum reinforced our commitment to delivering exceptional personalized direct mail campaigns and further cemented our reputation as industry leaders.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

How DTC Brands are Using Handwritten Letters to Increase Customer Lifetime Value

Key Topics

1. Why are Handwritten Letters Effective with Customers?

2. Can Handwritten Letters Earn Reviews?

3. How can Handwritten Letters Encourage Customers to Make a Second Purchase?

4. How do DTC Brands Write Effective Handwritten Pieces?

INTRODUCTION

Straightforward ways to increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is to decrease the cost of acquiring customers or increase the cart value with add ons.  While costs have been increasing across the board for DTC brands, a more effective way is to turn one time customers into repeat customers. The key is ultimately great customer experience and providing customers with a reason to return time after time. One such way of improving the customer experience and converting a one time customer into a lifelong customer is to show appreciation through customer stewardship like thank you notes or personalized loyalty discounts. These stewardship campaigns can leave a lasting impression on your customers ensuring your brand is top of mind during the next shopping session. According to the Generational Research Report (2020-2021), 71% of consumers feel that direct mail adds a more personalized touch to communication compared to online digital methods. In a digital era where communication has become synonymous with quick and impersonal exchanges, there is a powerful tool that can set your brand apart and forge deeper connections with your customers: handwritten letters. In this blog post, we will explore the unique power of handwritten notes and how they can leave a lasting impression on your customers. From expressing gratitude and appreciation to cultivating loyalty and driving repeat sales, handwritten letters offer a personal touch that digital communication often fails to achieve. So if you want to make a lasting impression on your customers, put down the keyboard and pick up a pen. Or better yet, we’ll pick up the pen for you!

How Handwritten Letters are creating lifelong customers

1. Why are Handwritten Letters Effective with Customers?

The rarity of receiving handwritten letters has become a notable phenomenon. Amidst the abundance of emails, text messages, and digital communication platforms, a handwritten letter has become a cherished relic. Handwritten pieces possess a unique power to develop emotional connections with customers, leaving a lasting impression that digital communication often fails to achieve.

The act of handwriting itself exudes effort and thoughtfulness, showcasing a level of care that resonates with recipients. When a customer receives a handwritten letter, they can immediately sense the sincerity and authenticity behind it. This tangible expression of effort stands out, allowing companies to differentiate themselves in the eyes of their customers.

Moreover, the rarity of handwritten letters enhances their impact. With inboxes flooded and notifications pinging constantly, the world is experiencing a digital fatigue. In contrast, a handwritten letter holds a higher chance of being opened and read, captivating the recipient’s attention in a way that digital messages struggle to achieve nowadays.

Beyond practicality, handwritten letters tap into a sense of nostalgia, evoking a bygone era when communication was more personal and meaningful. By receiving a handwritten letter, customers are transported back to a time when people made the effort to craft their words by hand. This nostalgic element adds a layer of sentimentality, fostering a deeper bond between the company and its customers.

Pleased customer at computer

2. Can Handwritten Letters Earn Reviews?

Product reviews are a key driver to increased sales. They demonstrate social proof while increasing purchase confidence. Getting existing customers to write genuine reviews is one of the most valuable goals a DTC brand can set. To codify this in the company’s mission setting review percentage as a KPI is recommended. One very effective way to get a customer to take the time to write a review is to send them a handwritten letter. The time it takes to write a handwritten letter conveys that the ask for their time was done in the spirit of reciprocity.

Within the letter, specifically express your appreciation for their recent purchase, highlighting how it has made a positive impact. Emphasize that their support is vital to the growth and success of your business. Share a brief anecdote or mention specific details that demonstrate your attention to their needs and satisfaction. This personalized approach shows that you genuinely care about their experience and encourages them to reciprocate by leaving a review to continue to support your brand.

By reaching out to customers with a personalized message, you not only enhance the chances of receiving a positive review but also encourage repeat sales as customers feel valued and connected to your business. Embrace the beauty of handwritten letters and watch as they strengthen your customer relationships and drive your business forward.

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3. How can Handwritten Letters Encourage Customers to Make a Second Purchase?

In today’s dynamic business landscape, cultivating customer loyalty is paramount to DTC brand’s success. A handwritten letter allows you to go beyond a simple “thank you” email and provides an opportunity to convey a heartfelt message. By recognizing the customer’s patronage and acknowledging their role as a loyal client, you strengthen the bond between them and your brand.

To further enhance the customer’s experience, consider offering a personalized discount code for their next purchase. By tailoring the offer to their specific preferences or past buying behaviors, you demonstrate that you genuinely care about their needs. You can also suggest complementary products or services that they may find appealing. By sharing these exclusive details, you create a sense of exclusivity and make the customer feel like a valued insider, increasing the likelihood of them making a repeat purchase.

 A notion to keep in mind when personalizing your outreach is to stay behind the “creepy-line”. You want to use your customer’s data as a guide in your campaigns that target your customer’s general interests. The goal is to recommend products/services that could be of interest to your clients and avoid invading their privacy.

 

4. How do DTC Brands Write Effective Handwritten Pieces?

When it comes to handwritten letters, personalization is key to making a lasting impact on your customers. By including specific details about the customer or their purchase, you demonstrate that the letter was crafted just for them. In this section, we’ll explore how to create a personalized and engaging handwritten letter that conveys warmth and gratitude.

Keep the letter brief and to the point, while still infusing it with language that is inviting and appreciative. Customers respond well to a genuine and concise message that acknowledges their importance to your business. By using a friendly and conversational tone, you create a welcoming atmosphere that sets the stage for a positive customer experience.

Addressing the customer by name is crucial in establishing a personal connection. Reference their previous purchase or interaction with the company to show that you remember and appreciate their support.

 

For example

 “Dear [Customer’s Name], we wanted to extend our sincerest thanks for your recent purchase of [Product/Service].”

 

Customize your handwritten notes using a CRM that stores and organizes your customers’ data.

To add that extra personal touch, include specific details that relate directly to the customer. Mention how their purchase has made a positive impact in the growth of your company or how their feedback has helped shape your products or services. This attention to detail shows that you genuinely value their contribution and makes the letter feel truly personalized.

In terms of presentation, prioritize legibility by using clear handwriting and properly spacing out the text. You can use this contrast checker to ensure that your colors, fonts, and font sizes are accessible. A well-structured and easy-to-read letter enhances the customer’s reading experience and ensures your message comes across clearly. Avoid grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, as they can detract from the professional image you seek to uphold.

Instead of relying on digital signatures or stamps, take the time to personally sign each letter, or better yet, let us handle that for you and pen your actual signature on your handwritten pieces. This small act goes a long way in adding an extra touch of authenticity and personalization. Your signature serves as a visual reminder that a real person took the time to connect with the customer, fostering a sense of trust and appreciation.

Be mindful of timing. Aim to send the letter within a few days of the customer’s purchase or interaction with the company. Promptness demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and keeps your brand top of mind.

 

Tips

  • Use a genuine and concise message with a friendly and conversational tone to acknowledge the importance of customers to your business
  • Establish a personal connection by addressing customers by name and referencing their previous purchase or interaction (without crossing the creepy-line)
  • Prioritize legibility and presentation by using clear handwriting, proper spacing, and ensuring accessible colors and fonts
  • Speed and timing is key when sending a gratitude letter
  • Add an element of authenticity to your pieces to make them stand out and be remembered.

 

CONCLUSION

The power of handwritten letters lies in their ability to forge deeper emotional connections with customers, standing out amidst the digital communication overload. The act of handwriting itself showcases care and thoughtfulness, instantly conveying sincerity and authenticity. Handwritten letters tap into a sense of nostalgia, transporting recipients to a time when communication was more personal and meaningful. This personal touch not only strengthens the customer relationship but also nurtures consistency and trust. By expressing genuine gratitude, acknowledging their individuality, and offering personalized discounts or suggestions, handwritten letters become a vehicle for driving customer engagement and repeat sales. Balancing personalization with respect for privacy ensures a positive and respectful customer experience. Let’s pick up our pens and create heartfelt connections that leave a lasting impression, reminding customers of the genuine care and appreciation we hold for each and every one of them.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

How to Recession Proof Your Nonprofit

INTRODUCTION

With the looming thought of a recession, nonprofits are at high risk of financial struggles. Now is the time to prepare and organize a robust strategy to make it through this challenging time. As donations and funding from government sources may decline, there will be an increased demand for services. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy: In the first half of 2022, donor numbers fell by 7% compared to the first half of 2021. This is because there was a decline in the number of small gift donors between the months January to July. With a recession upon us, small gift donors are more likely to temporarily lapse. This makes it challenging for nonprofits to sustain their operations and continue to serve their beneficiaries effectively. However, with careful planning, effective communication, and good stewardship, nonprofit leaders can mitigate the effects of a recession. In this article, we will explore some strategies that can help your nonprofit weather the storm and emerge stronger in the long run.

Key Topics

1. How do Recessions Affect Nonprofits

2. How to Plan for a Possible Recession?

3. What to Tell Donors and Volunteers During a Recession?

4. Why Make Stewardship a top Priority?

Recession Proof Your Nonprofit

1. How do Recessions Affect Nonprofits

Recession affects internal and external aspects of your nonprofit. As individuals and businesses may have less disposable income, you will see a decline in donation amounts and experience lower retention rates. Government funding is likely to decrease due to budget cuts. There will be an Increased demand for services, as recessions often result in higher levels of poverty, unemployment, and other economic challenges, which can lead to an increased demand for services from nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits may need to stretch their resources to meet this increased demand. Your organization may find fundraising more difficult as raising more funds will be less successful especially when trying to attract new donors. This inevitably leads to damaging your reputation and more unfortunately affects your capacity to help the cause.

Making a plan on whiteboard

2. How to Plan for a Possible Recession?

Don’t wait until you start to feel the effects of recession, be prepared and start planning for a potential economic downturn. Start to build a safety net for your organization now. Anticipate any possible financial struggles and prepare beforehand to reduce its adverse effects. Rather than waiting, take action to improve your organization’s programs and initiatives. Schedule regular meetings with your development or membership team, even if they are brief, to brainstorm ideas for strengthening donor relationships and communication. These meetings can lead to effective plans that can make a significant difference. Take into account how this will change your future and create a long-term plan. Imagine the desired outcomes for your organization in the next five years. Record the milestones you wish to reach, the accomplishments you want to achieve, and the prerequisites necessary to accomplish them. Equally significant is to ensure that you convey your organization’s long-term vision to your donor base to sustain their support, even if they have changed their capacity to donate temporarily.

 

3. What to Tell Donors and Volunteers During a Recession?

Effective communication about the effect of recession is essential for nonprofit leaders, not only with lower-level management and staff but with all stakeholders, including the board, donors, and volunteers. It’s crucial to inform everyone about the organization’s financial situation and the plan to ensure its sustainability. By keeping everyone informed and involved, your nonprofit can benefit from the collective input and support of the entire team.

Be sure to communicate clearly and transparently with your community members to maintain trust, manage expectations, and keep their supporters engaged. It is important to highlight that now is the time that you need your donors more than ever and gently remind them that the economic turmoil is tough for everyone but even tougher for those in need. Explain that there is an ongoing need for support from their community members, highlighting the impact that donations and volunteerism can have during a difficult economic period. Communicate this information in an informative manner and provide specific details on how the recession affects your organization.

Provide your community with the assurance that you have a plan of action for the recession, and show them that these hard times are just a speed bump in an otherwise hopeful future. Avoid using language that is asking for “bailouts” or is seemingly a “cry for help”.

Volunteers working together

4. Why Make Stewardship a top Priority?

This is the time to maintain relationships, by practicing good stewardship. Send your donors reminders that you value their relationship and you need their support. Amid a recession, donors tend to reduce the number of nonprofits they support financially. However, reaching out to them directly at this time may increase the likelihood of your organization becoming one of the nonprofits they continue to support in the long run. Therefore, it’s crucial to nurture and maintain a positive relationship with donors now to ensure their continued support in the future. By cultivating and stewarding donors today, you can improve the chances of retaining them as committed supporters. During periods of economic instability, there can be the mistake of directing a majority of resources towards gaining new donors, therefore neglecting current customer or donor base. Ensure that your recession plan aims to the retention of existing donors as that is more likely to see results in maintaining funding.

 

Your stewardship efforts should have these key priorities:

Showing gratitude by saying thank you with a handwritten thank you note

Share impact and success stories

Stay in contact with donors

Acknowledge any hard decisions your organization has had to make

Maintain authenticity and transparency

 

CONCLUSION

Recessions can have an impact on both the internal and external aspects of nonprofit organizations. Donations and retention rates may decline, and government funding may decrease. Increased demand for services can stretch an organization’s resources. To prepare for a potential economic downturn, nonprofits need to start planning now and improve their programs and initiatives, including strengthening donor relationships and communication. Clear and transparent communication is essential to maintain trust with all stakeholders. Emphasize the ongoing need for support, highlighting the impact of donations and volunteerism during a difficult economic period. Maintaining relationships and practicing good stewardship is crucial to retaining donors, to ensure the retention of existing donors as a strategy to maintain funding.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Nonprofit Stewardship: Why It’s Important

INTRODUCTION

Donor retention is an ongoing campaign, and stewardship is the most important tool to be successful. Major donors have a higher retention rate than small donors. According to FundraisingReportCard.com, donors who give less than $100 have a retention rate of 19.1% and donors who give $1000-$5000 have a retention rate of 31.46%. Many non profits mistakenly think that this is confirmation that they should focus their resources on stewardship of major donors. When in fact they have the cause and effect reversed; the lack of stewardship of small donors is the very reason they have such a high churn rate. The high retention rate among major gifts donors is proof that stewardship works. If non profits were to steward all of their donors at the level they steward their major donors they should expect to see similarly high retention rates across segments often resulting in millions of extra dollars raised.

Key Topics

1. What is Stewardship?

2. What are the Goals of Stewardship?

3. How does Stewardship help with Donor Retention?

4. How do you Create a Stewardship Program?

5. What are Some Examples of Good Stewardship?

Nonprofit stewardship why its important

1. What is Stewardship?

The objective of nonprofit stewardship is to nurture your relationship with donors and community members and the goal is to maintain good retention rates across giving segments. Stewardship is how nonprofits reach out and stay connected to patrons. Behind the scenes, stewardship involves collecting donor data, storing it within a CRM, and establishing a robust donor segmentation system. From the supporter’s perspective it involves many touch points reminding donors about the impact that they’re having, expressing gratitude in a meaningful way, as well as introducing them to the lives that they are touching while supporting the cause.

thanks! notecard

2. What are the Goals of Stewardship

To practice good stewardship requires keeping donors informed about the allocation of their donations and giving them satisfaction that funding is being used effectively and efficiently. Following up with a thank you message after donations is an excellent way to show gratitude. Showing gratitude is one of the cornerstones of developing relationships with donors. Stewardship is never ending and should always be in the process of being improved.

hands holding heart

3. How does Stewardship help with Donor Retention?

Stewardship is key to retaining donors. Retaining donors is also more cost efficient than gaining new donors. Stewardship takes time, money, and effort but it is worth it. Nurturing relationships with your big as well as your small donors is important. FreeWill.com uses a pyramid to represent the levels of donors, and you can use it as a visual tool to guide your stewardship decisions. At the base of the pyramid (you can think of this as the foundation) are occasional donors, volunteers, and others who help in your community. This level of participants is essential for your nonprofit to work day to day, so stewardship is very important. In the middle are recurring and annual donors, which is where a large portion of your funding comes from. Then at the top are major gift and planned gift donors, which we mention above could have a high return rate. Use this analogy of donors to base where and how much you invest your stewardship.

Donor Pyramid

Another framework is the activist ladder which employs stewardship to elevate volunteers into occasional givers, occasional givers into recurring donors, and recurring donors into major gift givers.

Activist Ladder

4. How do you Create a Stewardship Program?

Stewardship is a strategy, so you need to plan a program. Build a robust stewarding team with these key roles: Director of donor relations,  Stewardship officer, Relationship manager. With a strong team performing the shared duties of stewardship, a lot can be accomplished.

Organize your donor data into a CRM system to implement donor segmentation, so you can approach your interactions with members with authenticity. With an organized system of your donors information, you can enforce a system that thanks donors when they give a gift. Keeping the donor pyramid in mind, stewardship efforts can be based on need and the gift size.

 

Highlight donor recognition. Show gratitude. Make your people feel a part of your organization:

  • Curate a portal on your organization’s website that acts as a donor appreciation page that gives members the option to show that they have donated when they contribute to the cause.
  • Make sure to refer to donors by their preferred named via their preferred method of communication (eg. phone, mail, email, etc).
  • Aim to stay in contact with all donors, even inactive donors.
  • Plan to run campaigns that focus on your mission and how donors take part in the cause

Set goals that are achievable. There are a few points to aim for in your stewardship program: 

  • Retaining a certain number of new donors based on a specific campaign
  • Receiving bigger donations from a specific section of donors
  • Having a increased response rate on account of your program

Setting goals are a great incentive for your team to work towards and are also a way of making improvements to your strategy. You can learn a lot from the results and you can change your strategy as you go.

Stewardship relies on communication, so your stewarding team should organize a communication strategy. This strategy should cover when you will contact donors, plan the contents of each communication piece, communicate upcoming events, letting members know about volunteer opportunities, provide concise and well organized program information, and present relevant stories of people who are part of your organization. All donors are important and need different kinds of engagement, so plan to have a specific strategy for lapsed donors.

Stewardship Mail Package

5. What are Some Examples of Good Stewardship?

Stewardship is a category of communication. To reiterate, stewardship is about nurturing relationships and maintaining donors. It is like a conversation, you are just trying to stay connected and have wholesome interactions with donors. Stay away from asking for donations and remain on the side of gratitude. You can gain authenticity by sending handwritten letters. In a previous article: 10 pieces of mail to send each year, we have highlighted below examples of stewardship mail.

 

Stewardship Letter: You would send a stewardship letter to them after they have donated, to keep them informed about how their gift is being used. It often includes an impact report, newsletter or other information.

Thank you Card: You should include in your thank you card: A personalized thank you message, an appealing design, a handwritten note, a signature from a real person, and contact information.You should not include an ask of any kind. This is an opportunity to show gratitude and strengthen the relationship between your donor and your brand, not to ask for more money (though don’t be surprised if your thank you note generates a second gift).

Impact report: The purpose of impact reports (which can sometimes take the form of annual reports, quarterly reports, etc…), are to communicate the progress made helping the people or advancing the cause that your organization is supporting.

Lapsed Donor Letter: Remember that inactive donors don’t think of themselves as inactive, they see themselves as having previously donated to the cause. Simply the act of reminding them that their support is needed can be enough to reactivate a critical mass of your lapsed donors. Others may require reasons as to why they should give, and why now. Be sure to include urgency in your lapsed donor appeal, as well as specifics.

Donor Anniversary Card: A donor anniversary card celebrates a past gift, which has the simultaneous effect of promoting gratitude – like a thank you card – and reminding donors that their support is needed – like a lapsed donor letter. One of the reasons that these cards are so effective is that people tend to behave seasonally, and whatever triggered their generosity at this time last year is likely to do so again this year. The focus should be on celebrating your donor for their past gift, while thanking them for their implied future support.

 

CONCLUSION

Stewardship is about sustaining your relationship with all your donors. Each type of donor plays an important role in supporting your nonprofit organization. Continually investing in and improving your stewardship efforts will have an outsized impact on engagement as well as impact.

Traditionally, stewardship has required a large investment of resources and time, which has made it difficult for smaller organizations and leaner teams to extend good stewardship past a few large donors.

Postalgia strongly believes in giving the major gifts experience to ALL donors employing personalized handwritten mail, which has been shown to re-engage lapsed donors, increase retention rates, and increase gift amounts. Contact us today to discuss your next mail campaign.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

The 10 Direct Mail Pieces That Should be in Your Nonprofit Marketing Plan

INTRODUCTION

When putting together the fundraising and stewardship parts of your nonprofit marketing plan consider these 10 pieces of mail. Direct mail is the guaranteed best way to get your donor’s attention. Our clients have seen these pieces increase fundraising and retention rates! A significant feature of our handwritten direct mail is its customizability, allowing personalized authentic communication with members of your community.

According to Nonprofitpro.com, email response rates are extremely low. So low that they don’t even reach 1%. On average the email response rate is 0.1%, online display marketing is 0.2%, and paid search is 0.6%. Direct mail has a higher response rate average of 5.3%, while handwritten direct mail campaigns push that response rate even higher. The overall direct mail impact can be even higher than the response rates imply, as direct mail can also increase online giving.

The 10 Direct Mail Pieces

1. Solicitation Newsletter

2. Event Invitation

3. Stewardship Newsletter

4. Holiday Cards

5. Impact Report

6. Thank You Cards

7. Pledge Card With Reply Envelope

8. Lapsed Donor Letter

9. Donor Anniversary Card

10. End of Year Report

Nonprofit mail marketing plan

1. Solicitation Newsletter

Solicitation Letter

The solicitation letter requests donations, contributions, or volunteers from the recipient. This letter is properly addressed to the addressee, clearly states who or which organization it is from, then goes into detail about the purpose of this solicitation and how the recipient can take action. This letter acts as a vehicle to describe the “ask” , such as the upcoming fundraising event. The fundraising event details that should be mentioned are, the name of the event, the purpose, who is sponsoring the event, the date, the venue, and any other important details. Always ensure to include details on how the recipient can be a part of the event or ways to donate to the cause.

Here is a solicitation newsletter format:

  1. Organization name and address
  2. Date
  3. Name and address of recipient
  4. Salutation (Dear Salutation, )
  5. First paragraph: introduce your organization and summarize your mission
  6. Second Paragraph: state the details of the fundraising event
  7. Third paragraph: request an ask in the form of: attendance to event, donation, volunteers
  8. Fourth paragraph: Let them know you are open to being contacted and include contact information
  9. Fifth paragraph: Express gratitude in advance
  10. Complimentary close (Warm Regards,)
  11. Handwritten signature above your name
  12. PS. message (optional, but encouraged)

 

2. Event Invitation

Event

An event invitation can be paired with your solicitation letter if the contents of the letter talks about an upcoming event. Take care to have an eye catching design that is easy to read and accessible (Clear Print Accessibility Guide).

What to include in your invitation:

  1. Name of event
  2. Date and time
  3. Location
  4. RSVP details
  5. Your organization’s name
  6. Any sponsors
  7. Key event details
  8. Any other important information
  9. Contact information

 

3. Stewardship Newsletter

Stewardship Letter

Stewardship is about building the relationship you have with donors and maintaining open communication. You would send a stewardship letter to them after they have donated, to keep them informed about how their gift is being used. By being transparent about the allocation of funds, it allows donors to feel more involved and connected to your organization. Your goal is to provide them with reassurance that their gift is making an impact and meets their expectations and intentions.

 

Here is a stewardship newsletter format:

  1. Organization name and address
  2. Date
  3. Name and address of recipient
  4. Salutation (Dear Salutation, )
  5. First paragraph: Mention how you have received their gift, the gift amount, express organization’s gratitude
  6. Second paragraph: Quick summary of mission statement, explain how funds will/have been used
  7. Third paragraph:  Authentic statement of gratitude (1-2 sentences)
  8. Fourth paragraph: Let them know you are open to being contacted and include contact information
  9. Complimentary close (Thank You,)
  10. Handwritten signature above your name
  11. PS. message (optional, but encouraged)

*Important Tip: Never ask for donations in your stewardship endeavours.

4. Holiday Cards

Holiday Card Yellow

Holiday cards are at the top of the list of most important pieces of mail to send out each year. According to nonprofitssource.com, their 2023 charitable giving statistics report, shows that 30% of giving happens in December. So make sure to be on schedule and create beautifully designed cards that your recipients would want to put on display. Add the personal detail of curating handwritten messages. Be clear on how they can give, whether that be via digital platforms or filling out a pledge card.

 

5. Impact Report

Impact Report

The purpose of impact reports (also known as annual reports), are to communicate the progress made helping the people your organization is supporting. According to a case study by Katie Boswell and Sarah Handley from thinknpc.org, there are 5 areas you should include in your impact report: need, activities, outcomes, evidence, and lessons learnt.

Need: What are the problems your organization is trying to make an impact on?

Activities: How is your organization addressing these problems?

Outcomes: What progress have these activities made on the problems?

Evidence: What evidence do you have to show you have made an impact?

Lessons learned: How/what can you improve in the future?

Impact reports can take many forms from a folded booklet to a one page piece. To ensure your recipients are reading the report, make sure you are designing it in a way that catches their attention.

 

Here are some tips for the design:

  1. Be consistent with your organizations brand guidelines
  2. Write your report with intention
  3. Make sure the typography is accessible (Clear Print Accessibility Guide)
  4. Include eye catching imagery
  5. Include a contact information sections
  6. Include a way to donate section

 

6. Thank you Cards

Thank You Card Yellow

Thank you cards are an essential part of good stewardship practices. The bottom line is, when you receive a donation, a thank you message should be sent back. Some helpful tips to consider when writing a thank you card, personalized thank you message, no donation ask, appealing design, make it handwritten, include a signature, and contact information. The structure of a thank you card is similar to a thank you letter, the difference is this one is condensed.

 

Here is a thank you card format:

  1. Salutation (Dear Salutation, )
  2. First paragraph: Acknowledge how you have received their gift, the gift amount, express organization’s gratitude (1-2 sentences)
  3. Second paragraph: Quick summary of mission statement, explain how funds will/have been used (1-2 sentences)
  4. Third paragraph:  Another authentic statement of gratitude (1 sentence)
  5. Complimentary close (Warm Regards, )
  6. Handwritten signature above your name

 

7. Pledge Card With Reply Envelope

Pledge Card Reply Envelope Blue

Those who work in the nonprofit sector are no stranger to pledge cards and return/reply envelopes. They are a great way to secure consistent, long-term commitments from donors. Pledge cards are also a great way to collect your donors information for donor segmentation. The standard sections to fill out include: first and last name, email address, phone number, home address, and pledge amounts. It is also a good idea to have a section that summarizes your mission statement and how giving impacts the cause.

 

8. Lapsed Donor Letter

make a change

There is the constant struggle to prevent lapsed donors, and sending out personalized lapsed donor letters is good stewardship practice. The type of language you use is important when you communicate with lapsed donors. Remember that inactive donors don’t think of themselves as inactive, they see themselves as having previously donated to the cause. Even if they only donated one time, take the opportunity to highlight that and use encouraging words. Make sure to stay away from language which might make them feel guilty and set a positive tone.

 

Here is a lapsed donor letter format:

  1. Organization name and address
  2. Date
  3. Name and address of recipient
  4. Salutation (Dear Salutation, )
  5. First paragraph: Mention that you consider them part of the community and they have donated in the past, express gratitude
  6. Second paragraph: Summarize your mission statement and explain that help is still needed
  7. Third paragraph: Provide ways to donate or participate in the community
  8. Fourth paragraph: express gratitude again
  9. Complimentary close (Thank you again, )
  10. Handwritten signature above your name
  11. PS. message (optional, but encouraged)

 

9. Donor Anniversary Card

volunteers like donors

 

A donor anniversary card is similar to a lapsed donor letter. It has the same intentions; the difference is that the contents of this card is like a condensed version of the lapsed letter. This option is a less intense way to practice inactive donor stewardship. It also feels more personal, especially if there are personalized details like the message being handwritten.

 

Here is a donor anniversary card format:

  1. Salutation (Dear Salutation, )
  2. First paragraph: Mention that you consider them part of the community and they have donated in the past, express gratitude (1-2 sentences)
  3. Second paragraph: Quick summary of  your mission statement and explain that help is still needed (1-2 sentences)
  4. Third paragraph:  Provide ways to donate  (1 sentence)
  5. Complimentary close (Warm Regards, )
  6. Handwritten signature above your name

 

10. End of Year Report

sticky notes plan end of the year

The end of year report is similar to the impact report, in that it is communicating the progress made toward the cause wrapped up and summarized. This report can be sent out at the end of the year, or in the early new year. You can follow the same touch-points that were mentioned above: need, activities, outcomes, evidence, and lessons learned.

Here are some tips for the design:

1. Be consistent with your organizations brand guidelines

2. Write your report with intention

3. Make sure the typography is accessible (Clear Print Accessibility Guide)

4. Include eye catching imagery

5. Include a contact information sections

6. Include a way to donate section

CONCLUSION

This article provided 10 pieces of direct mail with their accompanying descriptions. We also provided tools to get a preliminary start to creating these pieces, so you can add them to your annual direct mail strategy.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Prevent Lapsed Donors

Article Highlights:

Pay attention to you donor retention

Invest in stewardship

Implement a donor segmentation system

Focus on your annual fund strategy

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Those who work in the nonprofit sector know that donor retention is an ongoing obstacle. As retention rates continue to plummet, lapsed donor prevention efforts are a top priority.

Referencing the 2022 Quarterly Fundraising Report, “Retention is expected to decrease by -3.1% year-over-year, following last year’s -7.4% decrease…Year-to-date retention of donors from last year stands at 29.9% in Q3” (givingtuesday.org, pg. 11).

Infographic-01

Pay attention to you donor retention

To calculate your donor retention, use the formula below! Donor retention is tough, but the good news is that it is easier to maintain repeat donors than it is to find new donors. With attention to the details and hard-work, you will be able to have your donors keep coming back. According to NeonOne.com, if you can improve your donor retention by 10%, you can reach up to a 200% increase in projected incoming donations.

Infographic-03

Invest in stewardship

Investing in something requires allocating funds and also devoting your time and effort. In the nonprofit sector, stewardship is everything. It is key to building strong relationships and making donors feel important and seen. You can do this by showing them how their involvement in your community impacts the people and cause. Be upfront by showing them your successes and your struggles. Hone in on your mission with sincerity and authenticity by taking personal approaches to communication efforts, such as sending send handwritten letters.

Invest Stewardship

Implement a donor segmentation system

We talk about this a lot. We highly encourage an in-depth donor segmentation system. Donor segmentation organizes your donors into groups based on their information, which builds your portfolio of donor data. You can use donor data to plan meaningful experiences and authentic communication between you and donors. By getting to know your donors, you can be strategic with your interactions by providing ways to participate in your community that are relevant to them.

 

It is a give and take as you build relationships. The more you invest in stewardship, the more information you will collect to better understand your constituents’ motivations and interests with your organization. So as your donor data grows, keep it organized in a solid CRM (constituent relationship manager).

 

Focus on your annual fund strategy

An annual fund strategy speaks to all the money that a nonprofit organization raises throughout the year. This fund is the foundation that allows your organization to maintain day to day operations, while running special programs. The annual fund strategy is top priority! Here are your best annual fund strategy practices.

 

Put your team together

Coordinate a dedicated group that’s soul purpose is to organize and implement a plan throughout the year. This is an ongoing process. It is good to build a team that has at least 2-3 people, so that all jobs do not fall on one person. The various responsibilities on the team are: prospect research, fundraising events, community member outreach, and direct asks coordinator.

 

Conduct prospect research

Prospect research identifies donors that have the capacity and financial resources to make major gifts. With that information, you can make the decision to focus more stewardship on these donors. Prospect research can also reveal and predict who and how much they will give. Research should be a big step in your strategy.

Here’s what to look for in your research:

A donor’s previous giving history with your nonprofit and other organizations

The donor’s personal background (values, interests, hobbies, etc.)

Wealth indicators (amount given in previous donations, real estate, stock ownership, etc.)

If donor is frequently philanthropically-motivated in other ways (if they frequently volunteer with nonprofits or have served on a board of directors)

 

Invest in fundraising software

You will need a robust system of tools to collect your research. It is important to build an online platform that is curated for community members to donate to, which ties into ensuring that your mobile giving interface is optimized. Social media upkeep is a big job and requires a lot of time and effort, but done well can be very useful in staying connected to your community. Consider investing in an email and text-to-donate program.

Build a schedule

It is important to stay organized and plan out a schedule of staff and resources for every campaign. If you know exactly what you need, you will have an easier time initiating a campaign instead of pulling things together at the last minute.


Important schedule items:

  1. Campaign start and end dates
  2. Fundraising event dates
  3. Important administrative dates, such as tax deadlines
  4. When each phase of your marketing strategy begins and ends

Plan to show your gratitude to donors, employees, and volunteers

Saying thank you is highly recommended for successful stewardship practices. It shows that you value those who volunteered and donated to your cause. It is also a great opportunity to add authenticity and personality to your communication efforts. This is the way to build relationships. It is as easy as sending a message via phone, email, or a personal handwritten note.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The bottom line for preventing lapsed donors is maintaining or raising your donor retention. We covered important areas for you to consider focusing on to make that happen:

  1. Pay attention to you donor retention
  2. Invest in stewardship
  3. Implement a donor segmentation system
  4. Focus on your Annual Fund Strategy

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

How to Get Lapsed Donors to Give Again

INTRODUCTION

Lapsed donors should be a substantial focus for non profits in 2023. There have been troubling statistics that show that all retention rates are down. Organizations are losing donors and strong stewardship efforts are more important than ever. This article will provide some advice on how charities can reignite their relationship with lapsed donors.

 

According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), the Q3 2022 (JAN 1, 2022 – SEP 30, 2022) reports that all types of donor retention rates are down. New Donors -14.8%, Repeat Donors -5.4%, and Recapture Donors -15%.

 

Infographic-01

 

WHAT IS A LAPSED DONOR

A lapsed donor is someone who has donated to your organization in the past but has not donated again for a significant amount of time. The average amount of time that is considered lapsed is 365 days. A lapsed donor could be any type of donor: major, small, micro, and one time. There are many reasons why a donor becomes lapsed: a change in their giving limits, priorities change, they experience a lack of stewardship efforts, or they simply haven’t been asked for donations. The good news is that it is possible to have a lapsed donor give again! Furthermore, it is easier to reengage a lapsed donor than to find a new donor because you have already built a relationship with them.

We always recommend donor segmentation and making sure your donor data is stored and organized, so you should most definitely include a segmented list of lapsed donors. This way any lapsed donor outreach can be personalized and more authentic, increasing the chances that they will donate again.

 

find out why lapsed

FIND OUT WHY THEY BECAME LAPSED DONORS

Once you have established who your lapsed donors are, it is beneficial to determine why they became lapsed donors. There are a few ways to collect that information. You can send out a survey, invest in a deceased suppression process, and inspect the data from your CRM to determine patterns that could be the reason your donors became inactive.

 

communication 1

COMMUNICATING WITH LAPSED DONORS

Stewardship is key, so always say thank you for any size gift. The type of language you use is important when you communicate with lapsed donors. Remember that inactive donors don’t think of themselves as inactive, they see themselves as having previously donated to the cause. That is a good thing though! Even if they only donated one time, take the opportunity to highlight that and use encouraging words. Make sure to stay away from language which might make them feel guilty and set a positive tone. One course of action you can take is to send out a “we miss you” message/letter.

 

Positive Phrases To Use:

We miss you

You make a difference

You’re part of the change

You make an impact

Let’s reconnect!

You’re part of the community!

 

Another course of action you can take is to send out  a survey that identities when and how often you should communicate with them:

Once a year

4x a year

Once a month

By email only

By phone only

By direct mail only

 

invest in stewardship

INVEST IN STEWARDSHIP EFFORTS

Remember your donor retention skills! Maintain a personalized approach, and avoid cookie-cutter looking stewardship, handwritten letters are a way to do this. Use your donor segmentation lists and base your solicitation efforts on your inactive donors demographic.

Keep in mind that life changes, people move, change their names, change their phone numbers and even their email addresses. So make sure to do your best to keep their information up to date. Communicate with lapsed donors to check their information in your system and if possible, provide a way to update it.

As we mentioned earlier, if a lapsed donor only gave one time, they still have an affiliation with your organization. To nurture that relationship you can keep them up to date. Send them newsletters, impact reports, community testimonies, and success stories multiple times a year. It goes a long way to take the time and care to design readable, organized, and on brand pieces of literature.

 

dont be afriad to ask

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK!

With the use of all your stewardship efforts, it’s time to seal the deal and make an actual ask! Keep in mind, you are not limited to asking for just donations. You can entice them back into the community by inviting them to an event as a guest or even as a volunteer. Remember that one of the reasons a donor becomes inactive is because they don’t have the capacity to donate at that moment, but you can stay positive that they still want to be part of the organization. Remember to “TREAT YOUR VOLUNTEERS LIKE FUTURE DONORS”.

In 2023 there are a plethora of ways to get in touch with your lapsed donors, email, phone, text, and direct mail. To really invest in stewardship and maintain an authentic connection, personalized and handwritten campaigns show inactive donors you appreciate their support.

 

What to include in your stewardship efforts:

A Positive Phrase

Newsletter keeping them up to date

An ask (Donation or way to be involved)

Donation card & reply envelope

A QR card leading to your website and donation page

An address to send cheques or letters to

Phone number

Names of communication representatives

Lots of gratitude

 

WRAP IT UP

We had a discussion about turning your inactive donors to active once again. Once a donor becomes lapsed, there is still hope for their return because you already got over the hardest part which was their initial donation. In this article, we tackled what a lapsed donor is, how you can determine why they became inactive, communicating with lapsed donors, the importance of investing in stewardship, and how an ask can be more than just a donation, it can be asking to participate.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

How to Gain New Donors

According to the 2022 Third Quarter Fundraising Report (FEP), there has been an increase in donations by 4.7%, but a decrease in the number of donors by -7.1% a continuing trend. Nonprofits will have to rely on the bulk of their donations coming from fewer donors.

 

 

Infographic

Consistent and reliable incoming funding is at risk. Although charitable giving increased in 2022, the number of donors decreased. It’s important in 2023 to make an effort to keep up your organization’s number of donors. We have covered Donor Retention in the past but now it is also mission critical to increase donation numbers by gaining new donors.

So let’s walk through how you can conduct prospect research, present social proof, reach out to one time and lapsed donors, and the importance of treating your volunteers like future donors.

 

prospect research

CONDUCT PROSPECT RESEARCH

Prospect research can be referred to by a few names: donor prospecting, screening, or donor research. This research technique is used by major gift organizers, nonprofit fundraisers, and development teams. Their goal is to pinpoint high-impact donors inside and outside of a nonprofits donor pool.

Benefits of Prospect Research:

  1. EVALUATE DONORS: There could be potential major donors within your donor pool
  2. FIND NEW PROSPECTS: Expand your reach by researching for potential donors
  3. REVISE GIFT STRATEGY: By screening your prospects, you can build a robust gifting system based on donors that are more likely to donate
  4. ENHANCE FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES: Analyze donor data to highlight fundraising trends to create successful activities
  5. DISCOVER CORPORATE GIVING OPPORTUNITIES: Discover donors with eligible corporate giving incentives such as – volunteer grants and matching gifts
  6. FILL GAPS IN DONOR DATA: Update outdated and empty donor information

Types of Prospects:

  1. Individual Donors: One time, annual, recurring
  2. Major Donors
  3. Corporate Donors
  4. Foundations

How to do prospect research:

  • In-house prospect research: Staff member or full-time research staff take on the responsibility of conducting prospect research
  • Work with prospect research consultant
  • Partner with prospect research screening company

 

social proof

PRESENT SOCIAL PROOF

Showing social proof is an authentic technique to attract new donors. In an article by Alfred Lua from Buffer.com, social proof is a psychological phenomenon when the actions of others give credit to the situation. For example: a potential donor is more likely to give to a charity that their friends also give to.

There are a few types of social proof: Expert, Celebrity, User, Crowd Wisdom, Friend Wisdom

5 types of social proof in the nonprofit industry with example:

Expert: Doctor who works for a hospital explaining allocation of donations and how it has helped patients
Celebrity: Public figure that has an affiliation with organization and donates on a regular basis
User: Community testimonials
Crowd Wisdom: Showing number of donors
Friend Wisdom: A friend that donates to a specific charity

Showcasing social proof can be done in a multitude of ways, whether you keep it simple and show more depth. You can include community testimonials in your direct mail campaign, post a video of a volunteer talking about their experience with your nonprofit on social media, or even have a recipient tell their story at a fundraising event. Storytelling  is perhaps the most powerful form of social proof. It can evoke emotion in potential donors that leads to them feeling more passionate about the cause.

 

 

reach out lapsed

REACH OUT TO LAPSED AND ONE TIME DONORS

Circling back to the statistic above proving that charitable giving increased in 2022, but the number of donors decreased. It is vital to be cautious if you only rely on a small percentage of major donors and to remember that small donors are important too. 

Make an effort to reach out to one time and lapsed donor because even one donation is the beginning of a relationship. It goes a long way to communicate to donors and let them know they helped out, and that they are a part of the cause. Nurturing your relationship to small donors will go a long way with maintaining incoming donations. Your solicitation endeavours to one time donors could turn them into recurring donors. Invest in your relationships with big and small donors.

 

 

volunteers like donors

TREAT VOLUNTEERS LIKE FUTURE DONORS

Let’s not forget about the importance of volunteers! Your volunteers are potential prospects that could easily become new donors. They have an established relationship with your organization and have already displayed their passion and commitment to the cause. Always remember to follow up with your volunteers because they are what keeps your nonprofit organization going. By staying connected to your volunteers, you are strengthening the relationship and giving them a memorable experience with your organization. This goes a long way for their future as a donor.

Deliver a personalized follow up to your volunteers as a gesture of gratitude. There are various ways to communicate with volunteers, a phone call, an email, or a personalized handwritten letter or note. The more genuine, the better. Timing is also key, so ensure to follow up as soon as possible after an event or campaign.

What to include in a follow up:

  1. A heartfelt handwritten thank you
  2. Their impact on the cause
  3. A way to provide feedback (survey, email address, phone number, etc)

FINAL THOUGHTS

With the increase of giving but decrease in number of donors, donation stability is at risk in 2023. The focus this year should be on gaining new donors. The strategies we discussed are improving your donor data by conducting prospect research, presenting potential donors with social proof to show legitimacy, making an effort to maintain a relationship with lapsed and one time donors, and treating your volunteers like future donors.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

4 Tips to Increase Giving from Donors

INTRODUCTION

Those working in the nonprofit sector understand the never ending need to keep donations coming in. Not only do you want a consistent flow of contributions, but preferably an increase. The purpose of this article is to provide you with 4 tips to increase donations. We will touch on the importance of implementing a donor segmentation system, how to communicate often, disclosing the impact of donations, and the benefit of asking!

 

graphics_Infographic-01

 

There is statistical evidence that there has been an increase in giving over the past year. The National Philanthropic Trust shows data that in 2021, Americans donated $484.85 billion, corporations donated $21.08 billion, and foundations gave $90.88 billion. To review more “charitable giving statistics”, you can review this article by the NPT.

 

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IMPLEMENT A DONOR SEGMENTATION SYSTEM

Donor segmentation is key to increasing donations because it allows you to keep information about your donors organized for you to use and form meaningful experiences and authentic communication between you and your donors. To build a donor database, you must use a CRM that includes features that support: list segmentation, measuring engagement, data analysis, and communication with donors. Check out this list of CRM softwares that are recommended for use by nonprofits.

There are a few categories that you want to segment your donor data: demographic, communication, donation track record, and interests. Using this information, you can send out campaigns that have personalized traits based on donor segmentation information. An example is sending out pre-filled donation asks or mailing a thank you letter that uses the donor’s name.

Donor segmentation increases donations and gets results!

 

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COMMUNICATE OFTEN

We always say we’re going to stay in touch, but do we always follow through? Communicating with your patrons reminds them that they are a part of your organization. Life gets busy, and we forget about messaging that old friend or donating to an important cause, so don’t let your donors forget you exist!

There are many easy ways to communicate with your donors: posting on social media and sending out emails. Then there are the impactful ways to connect with donors by sending: personalized handwritten thank you letters, impact reports, and pledge cards accompanied by return envelopes. Always remember to include a way for your donors to stay in touch. This means including your organization’s contact information: address, phone number, email, and names of your communication team.

 

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SHOW THE IMPACT OF DONATIONS

Being transparent about the allocation of donations is an assured way to increase giving. People appreciate honesty and authenticity. They want to see that their contributions to your organization are making an impact on the cause. Charts and facts have value and provide beneficial information to an impact report, and community testimonies are a way to show a deeper impact. Personal stories from volunteers, participants, and partners are great for highlighting impact and evoking emotions in donors.

Testimonies are a great way to get positive and structured feedback from those involved in your organization.

 

Here are a few questions you can ask when collecting testimonies:

  1. Why did you join our organization?
  2. How does being a part of our organization benefit you?
  3. What do you like about being a part of our organization?
  4. Do you see areas that need improvement? What are they?
  5. Are you happy with the progress our organization has made to the cause?
  6. Do you tell your friends and family about your involvement?
  7. Can we use your testimonials with attributions in our communications?

TIP: Highlight the impact of specific donation amounts

 

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ASK

An effective strategy to increase donations is to simply…ask. Nonprofits are in the business of collecting donations, so it is to be expected by participants that they will be asked to give. There are ways to ask for donations that make it easier to donate.

Keeping in mind your donor segmentation system:

  1. Provide preset giving levels based on demographics
  2. Encourage automatic monthly donations
  3. Be transparent about popular giving amounts
  4. Mail out regular pledge cards accompanied by reply envelope
  5. Include a QR code that leads to a donation webpage on literature and correspondence as much as possible
  6. Show the specific impact potential of each ask amount in other words what each ask amount can be spent on

 

CONCLUSION

To wrap things up, we have discussed 4 ways to increase giving from donors. Primarily, you want to implement a donor segmentation system, and use donor data to create meaningful experiences with participants. Next you want to make sure you are communicating often via direct-mail, social media, email, etc. Within your communications, it is beneficial to be transparent about the impact of donations with facts and figures, but also provide community testimonies to show social proof. Ultimately, the most obvious but effective method of increasing donations is to simply ask!

*BONUS TIP*

Nonprofits value authenticity and personal connections. A great way to increase donations by creating authentic interactions is with handwritten notes!

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.