I was asked this past January to do a presentation about direct response by Mazarine at Wild Woman Fundraising – especially how it relates to direct mail. A few days after agreeing to it, I sat at my desk with a glass of wine staring at a blank word file… Cursor flashing. Flashing. Flashing.
I was instantly crushed by the pressure of trying to record the things I thought I might actually know – and think – about direct mail.
After a few months of writing, editing and pulling together a presentation, I was ready to share it with some amazing colleagues and friends who helped focus my thoughts – and a few days before the presentation, I did a live recording of it.
This is a look at direct response and direct mail through the Agents lens. Philosophically and practically.
I talk about my mother in law, your donors, the state of direct mail, the power of “YOU”, the donor love story, asking for one thing, branding and design, the importance of surprise and delight in your donor toolbox, some idea’s for testing, 25 thing I never, EVER want to catch you doing with your direct mail and some hot tips which hopefully will make your mail better today.
I will warn you, it is about 45 mins long and high rez to view – so put the kids to bed, get your own glass of wine and dive in – and please let me know your thoughts, your questions or anything else.
This presentation was just terrific–full of both big picture ideas and practical advice. (It is amazing how different things can seem when you picture “Dale” in the donor-seat!)
Do you have a strong opinion on the effectiveness of DM versus email appeals? If you’re working with an organization with very limited funds, it can be tough to get them to spring for the DM-pack–especially with non-standard-sized envelopes, colored stock, first-class stamps, etc.
And, how many times did you send the appeals your showed (the hummingbird, Humbert, etc.)? Do you make changes to them on repeat mailings, or just send the same thing out again?
Thanks for posting the great presentation!
Response from John:
Thank you Maggie! i am THRILLED it was of some use to you. in a nutshell – DM is expensive. absolutely. organizationally you need to make your own decision to do it or not. a lot of the best direct mail i’ve ever seen has never touched the sweaty hand of a consultant. it is direct, hand touched, personal, rough around the edges and tells a remarkable story (you know, before we had machines and people that just wanted to automate the process…). yes, email appeals are cheaper – and for certain audiences, they will do very well. but there are a lot of variables and questions that need to be answered first before you can answer them. I am super serious when i say, if you want to chat more in depth about this maggie, just drop me a email ok?