So, your department has been going back and forth on whether or not you should outsource your Direct Mail Fund Drive, or hire a company to do it for you. You think to yourself, “How hard could it be?” “It will not take that long to do.” “It would be so much cheaper to do it ourselves.” You have all the right questions, concerns, and ambition and we appreciate that. However, this is where we would like to help put your mind at ease and show you just how much goes into your Direct Mail Fund Drive.
Can’t be that hard, you just have to complete these steps. Generate a mailing list, write a letter while asking for a donation as well, put it in an envelope, stamp it, then mail it out. So simple! Right? …. Well, we are sorry to bust your thought bubble, but there is more to it than just those simply stated steps.
Let us start with the simpler steps.
Writing the letter
You want to have a personal touch with your message, talk about how the past donations helped your department, upcoming events in your department/community, what your planning on doing with the new donations this year, and so on. Also, if you personalize the letter with each recipient name, it gives it that extra touch!
That is just with your message, what about the look of the letter? You do not want to have a boring letterhead; it does not show that you put in any thought or time into the letter. (That is the wrong message.) You want to brighten things up with a cool header design! Add some personal touches by having pictures of your members, or apparatus.
Are you capable of personalizing each letter with the recipient’s name? Do you have the software to do this? Can your department come up with a unique design for your letter? Will it stand out above all the rest of the mail your recipients receive?
Asking for a donation
This is something you do not want to just come out and say, “Give us money”. No one would respond, and it is a little rude. Kindly show them what you have done with the previous donations, and then explain to the potential donors what you are looking to do with this year’s donation. Leave a (perforated) slip at the bottom of your letter, so they can tear it off and place it in a return envelope (which you provided with a return address already on there). Trust us, they get the message!
Now does your department have the right tools and materials to do this the right way?
Stuffing the envelopes
A simple step, anyone can do this. True, but it is very time consuming. Also, if you do not have some kind of window envelope, then you just added another step! You have to address each envelope. If you personalized each letter to the recipient then you need to make sure you stuff them in the correct ones.
Keep in mind you could potentially be stuffing hundreds to even thousands of envelopes. Does your department have enough help to donate their time to do this?
Generate a mailing list
This is where the steps start to get harder, and more time consuming. Not only do you want to make sure that you covered your entire area, but you want to have the correct addresses to your recipients! We go into more detail about your Database in our previous blog. So check it out for more details.
Do you have the time and software to do this? Do you know where to even start? Are you willing to keep track of your database with the changes of addresses?
Stamp it, and then mail it
Now this is where it can get a little more detailed. You think it’s a simple thing, just stamp the envelope. Sure, why not? But, do you realize how much a stamp costs, especially when doing hundreds/thousands of envelopes? Here are your three options with postage:
Potential Cost Between Postage Options
- Regular Stamp
- Non Automation Letter
- 5-Digit Automation Letter
*Information from the United States Postal Service and Choice Marketing Inc.’s statistics.
Regular Stamp – You go to the post office and buy .49¢ stamps for each.
Non-Automation Letter – You have a discounted price due to your Non Profit Permit, but this does not provide a bar code, that means your envelopes are addressed to “Residents”.
5-Digit Automation Letter – Even more discounted price due to your Non Profit Permit, and bar code for each personalized envelope.
Once you have your postage all figured out, then you mail out your fund drive!
Do you have a Non Profit Permit? Do you know how to get one? Do you know which postage you should use or would work best for your department? Do you have the time to get this all done?
Due to postage and addresses so complex with so much detailed information behind it, keep your eyes open for a future blog discussing this topic in more detail!
So there you go! Steps you thought were easy to do, but then didn’t realize the detail that goes into each one, when doing your Direct Mail Fund Drive. We do not want you to get discouraged from doing this on your own, but we wanted to point out that this is not an easy thing to do on your own. That is why there are companies out there like Choice Marketing that do this and have mastered it! We just touched on the basics, so of course there is more detail and steps that go into a SUCCESSFUL, STRONG, and CREATIVE Direct Mail Fund Drive! Choice Marketing can accomplish this for your department, and keep within your budget!
Extra things to think about!
- Cost of ink you will use when printing out all the letters.
- Cost of materials, for example quality paper, return envelopes, and window envelopes, or even labels (If you do not have the capability of printing on the envelopes.)
- Cost of stamps if you do not have the right kind of permit with the post office.
- The wasted money on all the undeliverable addresses when your letters get sent back to you.
- The time spent on generating the mailing list, and doing it the right way.
- The time spent stuffing hundreds even thousands of envelopes
- Time spent stamping each envelope.