Raising money through the mail is complicated, expensive and time consuming. That’s why professional fundraisers plan their mailings months in advance, and retain the services of direct mail specialists to help them plan, execute and manage their programs.
Alan Sharpe is a direct mail fundraising copywriter, consultant and coach. He helps non-profit organizations send the right messages at the right time to the right people, asking for the right amount of money. As Mal Warwick warns in Revolution in the Mailbox, “Successful direct mail fundraising has little to do with statistics or with letter writing. It’s a long-term process that requires intelligent planning and careful, consistent management.”
Alan’s clients come to him for strategic answers
- How many appeals should we mail to our house file each year?
- When are the worst months to mail?
- How can I grow my member or donor base with direct mail?
- When do our new donors break even?
- How do we select good lists?
- What role should regular acquisition mailings play in our annual direct mail program?
- Why are our donors upgrading, downgrading or changing their average gift?
- How can we increase the size of average gifts?
- How much more should we ask for?
Donor renewal and retention
- What percentage of my multi-year donors renew each year? Why?
- My donor attrition rate is high. How can I lower it?
- Alan Sharpe says we should never ask for another gift in the body of a thank-you letter. How come?
- I suspect that our direct mail tactics are maximizing short-term revenue rather than building lasting relationships with donors. How can I know?
- How should we try to recover our lapsed donors?
- How can we identify and cultivate major donors in our house file?
- Bequests are vital to our long-term survival. How can we attract them in sensitive ways, over time, with direct mail?
- How should we calculate a direct mail donor’s lifetime value?
- How can we maximize donor value?
- How can we reduce our mailing costs?
- A well-known consultant says we should use “Dear Friend” salutations to control costs, but Alan Sharpe says they harm long-term donor loyalty. Who is correct?
- My board tells me to watch my costs, but Alan Sharpe says the more important number to watch is cost-effectiveness. Which is more important in the long-run?
Tracking, testing and analysis
- How can we save money—or boost net revenue—through testing?
- What are the top eight ratios or percentages that we should be watching week by week, campaign by campaign, and year over year?
Integrating offline and online direct mail
- How should we integrate direct mail appeals with our website?
- How should we be using email newsletters and alerts to build relationships between direct mail appeals?
If you need help planning and executing a comprehensive direct mail fundraising program that attracts donors, builds relationships and retains donors, let’s talk.