5 High-Impact Direct Mail Marketing Strategies for Non-Profits

By: Andrew Glover
August 24, 2020

In a time with extremely saturated digital media, direct mail allows modern non-profit organizations to add unique and personal components to their marketing campaigns. Let’s explore the ways your non-profit can expand its reach and improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategies with direct mail.

Choose Your Audience

There are two different types of direct mail strategies, depending on the audience you want to reach: house file and prospecting.

House file mail is when you send materials to donors who have given to your organization before and are trying to encourage giving again. Prospecting mail is a cold outreach sent to prospective new donors or those who haven’t given to you in a while. House file mail tends to have a better return on investment (ROI), so we recommend that all non-profits have a house file strategy incorporated in their overarching fundraising.

Make sure to add personalized aspects to your writing when you are reaching existing donors and members. You have documented data that will guide you down the best path for a high ROI. Personalization includes pushing donation opportunities through direct mail with individuals most likely to prefer this method of giving. It also means you prioritize building relationships with those who may not be as possible to give through direct mail, but who could be an asset through other means down the road.

Tell a Story

Storytelling is another critical aspect of high-impact direct mail marketing. You want to catch the person’s attention immediately through direct mail. The best way to do so is by pulling them in with a story. There are two different stories you could tell: your story or the story of an individual.

Your Story

Your non-profit has a unique story. Telling your audience about your organization’s struggles and triumphs will show that you are a credible non-profit and trustworthy with your members’ commitment. Essential elements of your story include the inspiration of your organization’s foundation and how your non-profit has grown and the success its had so far. Sharing these points will inspire your members by explaining your inspiration and then crediting yourself by showing your growth and improvements.

An Individual’s Story

Sharing an individual’s story is an effective, high-impact direct mail marketing tactic for inspiring members. Many people experience a psychological term called “collapse of compassion” or “psychic numbing” when faced with multiple victims of a circumstance. What this means is that most people find the story of many people struggling challenging to absorb. But most people will sympathize with an individual person.

When you share the struggle of a real person, you evoke sympathy in your reader and avoid a collapse of compassion. Sharing one person’s story will create the most sympathetic outcome to your audience and increase the chance of them donating.

Use a “You-Attitude” While Drafting

A “you-attitude” allows you to better connect with your reader. The most crucial word in your writing is the word “you.” Instead of framing your sentences around your organization’s needs, focus the attention on the actions of the donor. Use phrasing similar to, “Your donation will help us to…” instead of “We encourage you to make a donator for…”

Create Skimmable Letters

It should take a few minutes from when your reader opens your letter until the time they finish reading. Lengthy direct mail letters are likely to lose attention more quickly. Make an effort to use simple sentences, uncomplicated words, and a direct call-to-action. These clear choices make it easy for anyone to quickly and easily skim your piece and understand your message.

Use Keywords

Some particular keywords and phrases are the most effective in grabbing the attention of your supporters. These words establish credibility to your non-profit and signal potential benefits to your members. Some of the keywords include:

  • The member’s name
  • Tax-deductible
  • “You,” as mentioned in the “you-attitude” above
  • Give

Think about what interests your members. Recognize the words that you would want to hear that inspire giving. Make a list of these words and use them in your letter template.

High-Impact Direct Mail with Valtim

Valtim offers many direct mail marketing techniques that will provide your organization with an excellent ROI. One of our best services is our personalization options. Personalization is involved in all 5 of the recommended strategies listed above. The more personalized your direct mail is, the more connected your reader will feel towards your message.

Contact Valtim to learn more about your direct mail and personalization capabilities.

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