5 Elements of Direct Mail

Nonprofit Insurance Program

5 Elements of Direct Mail

Many nonprofit organizations choose to send direct mail to potential donors.  These direct mail pieces can include anything from nickels to address labels to umbrellas.  Many larger nonprofit organizations have mastered the art of direct mail after many trials and errors.  For small nonprofit organizations, this is not a luxury they have with limited funding.  Direct mail has 5 elements that need to be understood and utilized to their fullest to increase the open and call ratio of your mailings to donors.

Element #1 is the package.

What color and size is your envelope? Do you have a catchy teaser line on the front of it, such as “See inside for your FREE gift!”? If you do not, your potential donors may not even be opening the package before tossing it in the trash. Some other ideas that may help attract donors is adding a pet photo to the envelope or putting a professional stamp on the package. The package is not only important on the outside, but on the inside people care about things like inserts and reply forms. If a donor is donating money to a dog at your rescue, perhaps you would add an insert that says, “A donation has been made in honor or memory of *insert name of donor*”. DO NOT include inserts that involve competition because this suppresses results.

Element #2 is the story.

The first thing you need to learn about the story is that font does matter. Arial, Times New Roman, and Century Gothic are styles of font that are good to use with direct mail. You should also use 12 font as much as possible, 11 and 14 font are okay but not recommended. Just think of who your audience is, they need to be able to read it without trouble. Along with the font is the spacing, it is much more appealing to use double-spacing when including a letter. The color of the font and the color of the background are important as well. Graphics can either help or hurt your story. If the graphic goes along with the story and is pleasant to look at then it can help your story, if the graphics are disturbing, it can hurt your story.

Element #3 is to ask.

If your nonprofit organization is in need of donations, it is beneficial to ask them for a donation and to leave an amount blank so that they can choose how much they’d like to donate. Personalized gift array helped to increase the average donation by 32%.  On the donation form, it is also helpful for your business to add a “monthly gift” option.

Element #4 is timing.

Think about your audience and what you’re trying to sell, then think about what time it would be most fitting.

Element #5 is the list.

Know your audience! Say your child is watching television, would they be more persuaded by a toy commercial or an air freshener commercial? It’s black and white, of course they would prefer the toy commercial, and it’s that easy to read what your audience wants. Don’t fill your mailings with a bunch of random offers, stay exclusive. On the donation form, be sure to include an ID number, an appeal code, and a list code. This way it is easy to identify the donor, know what the campaign was and why it was sent, and put people into groups to form an analysis. Be sure to thank your donor, it could have been just as easy for them to throw away the mailing, but they did not so acknowledge that and thank them.

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