How fundraisers are getting it right in the mail

Here’s another fascinating post from the Joy of Direct Marketing blog: B2C Direct Mail: Learning from charities. It looks at fundraising direct mail from a commercial DM perspective, and finds our stuff pretty darn good. (I noted a similar post from this same blog last month.)

Here’s what they noted about fundraising mail:


  • The mailings are in envelopes.
  • The envelopes have teaser copy on the outside.
  • Everything in the “package” looks easy to read even before you start reading.
  • The writers are never showing off their brilliance; the copy is always in simple language.
  • They have letters and the letters have a personal, one-to-one, feel about them.
  • There’s usually a (relevant) story of some kind that draws the reader in.
  • The writer makes a point of establishing a one-to-one connection.
  • Sometimes there is a brochure, sometimes not.
  • They often contain involvement devices, something for the recipient to “play” with, however minor it may be: a sticker you move from here to there, for example.
  • The copy might tug gently at your heartstrings, but it doesn’t beat you over the head.
  • The copy is as long as it has to be.
  • They do what all sales managers wish their salespeople would do: they ask for the order in several different ways.
  • They are positive, upbeat and focused on success.
  • They usually feature testimonials.
  • They keep coming.

What’s funny about this list is that many of these things are under constant attack by fundraisers(usually inexperienced ones) who think these things are corny, old-line “techniques” that “nobody would respond to.”

But this is the stuff that pays our salaries and makes our good deeds possible. If you’re doing it right, keep doing it! If not, here’s a good list to follow.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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