Next week I am doing a webinar called “How to Loverize* Your Donors with Direct Mail: Secrets to Boost Your Revenue” for Gail Perry. There is one section, that above all the others, I guarantee will raise you more money in your next appeal. (*HT to Tom Ahern)
I get it that we live in a world that pushes us to find ways to automate process. Automation means more perfect, more fast, more time for other things or just “more”. The problem is that automation has hurt us, especially when it comes to talking to donors.
So, let me get to my point.
Take some of your best donors out of the automation of your next direct mail piece.
Agents of Good tend to take some of the top segments like loyal donors, or those who give over a certain amount, your monthly donors, etc (think about your top 20% of donors who likely are responsible for 80% of your gifts over the course of a year) and let’s ensure they DON’T get the white #10 envelope pack you are sending to everyone else.
These people are going to get what we call a “high touch” version of the package.
What does that mean?
First off, they get either a 9″ x 12″ or a 9″ x 6″ envelope. Closed faced! With first class postage – the prettier the stamp – the better. This envelope can be simple in its design – just your logo is fine but you must hand write the donors name and address on it.
Second, look at your letter that already gushes appreciation and gratitude for their efforts and tells a remarkable story that will inspire them into action. Can you edit your copy to address them by name a few times through the letter? Can you reference their last gift and tell them why a little more today will matter? Can you explain why you are asking them for that amount? Once you have tweaked your letter to feel more like you talking to them, go to your printer in your office and print them off. Then you should hand sign every single one. Bonus points (and gifts!) for doing things like crossing out “Dear Mr. Lepp” and handwriting “Dear John!” and writing a note or two in the margin with a small star around certain copy – especially the bits that are about them. If you know the donor personally, a small note at the end or beginning referencing something about them you know – like a birthday or recent celebration goes a LONG, LONG way… Consider providing your direct line with a open invitation to contact you anytime.
Third, your reply form. Once again, set up your own in word and print it off on your printer. The top can have your logo or whatever. But it should read something like, “Special reply form for John Lepp” in big type. 24 pt. The gift array should repeat what you have in your letter, last gift, some sort of upgrade or a blank field for them to give whatever they want. If they are monthly donors, maybe you are asking for special one off gift or maybe the goal is the upgrade their giving. Make sure their name and address is printed on it somewhere and please, the less coding on it and the more hand made it looks – the better.
Fourth. If your mailing included some sort of insert, print extra so you can hand insert them along with the letter and reply. Better yet, if you have a photo or something that will speak to your cause, go down to Costco and get a bunch printed up on photo paper and write a note on the back about why you are including it – something simple like “You made this possible” or “Susy thanks you” or “I had this photo on my desk and I really wanted to share it with you”. Be creative.
Fifth. If you can, ditch the Business Reply Envelope. Put in a hand addressed envelope with a stamp on it for the donor to put their gift into. If you think that will cost too much money then at least make sure your BRE is in the pack – and write THANK YOU on the top left at the very least.
Do this, mail it, track your results. I guarantee that these donors will perform much better almost immediately. And then repeat every single mailing.
Any other tips you use in your direct mail that you have found to make a massive difference in your response rates? Let us know!