You may be asking yourself: is direct mail the best way to raise funds? Does it cost too much? Will I be comfortable using direct mail? Those are good questions. The truth is direct mail may not be the right fundraising medium for every organization. But, did you know that virtually every major nonprofit in America relies on direct mail as their primary fund raising medium? They realize the value and importance of direct mail to keep their causes alive. For many others, it is a major component that their overall fund raising effort depends on.
The Core Fund Raising Medium
Direct mail really is different. In fact, most nonprofit leaders agree that direct mail truly is the core component of any successful fundraising program. Direct mail will help you draw in support for your special events. And direct mail will make it possible for you to create an effective deferred giving program so that your organization can continue, even after you are gone, thanks to the wills and bequests you generate from your base of loyal and faithful supporters.
Take our Keys to Success test to see if direct mail might be right for you.
Is Direct Mail an Efficient Way of Raising Funds?
The truth is that direct mail is costly, especially in the early stages of
building your house list. As explained in How Does
Direct Mail Work? building
your house file is the key to raising net income for your organization. However,
while it appears to be an inefficient process for raising funds, it is the
most efficient process yet developed for gathering funds from
donors from coast-to-coast and border to border. Patriotic Americans
in small towns and in large cities look for opportunities to participate in
and support efforts to preserve freedom for their children and future generations
of Americans. They want the United States to not only be a great nation,
but a good nation. Direct mail gives them an opportunity to be a part
of something big and important, and they feel better about themselves when
they support your organization. But to get right down to the bottom line
of the cost of direct mail fund raising, please read Where
Does All the Money Go? This free publication will give you an unvarnished
picture of the cost of direct mail fund raising.
Will I Be Comfortable Using Direct Mail?
It's important to reach a comfort level in using direct mail if you want to use it to its maximum effectiveness. Understandably, those who have never used direct mail before may have misconceptions regarding how it really works. One common misconception is that in order to be effective, direct mail has to exaggerate reality and make unsubstantiated claims. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your direct mail fundraising appeal depends on presenting the truth in new, compelling ways, but always telling the truth. Remember, the most effective efforts are built from a series of sincere requests, not dubious exaggerations. For a greater understanding of the necessity of conveying the brutal truth to your prospective donors, please read Don't Go Begging In Your Tuxedo.
Another aspect of direct mail that you will need to be comfortable with is the importance of building relationships with your donor base. This means frequent and varied mailings to your donors as is explained in more detail in Building A Relationship With Your Donors.
Direct mail is the only fundraising medium that can do all of these things.