Improve fundraising results with 2 reply devices

Here’s a weird direct mail that might work for you:

Add a 2nd reply device — and a 2nd return envelope — to your next appeal.

It can meaningfully improve response.

The messaging

You can do it for any appeal, but it works most naturally when there is a reason to ask a donor to give now and then again in a month. I’ve most often done it in the summer, asking donors to help when giving is down but the need is just as great (or greater) than ever. Like this:

As you know, people get busy in the summer, and it’s so easy to forget to support important causes like Springfield United. That’s why giving drops off in the summer.

So could I ask you to do something special?

Make a donation today, using reply coupon #1, and send it in envelope #1.

And then, next month about this time, use #2 to send a second donation to help the kids this summer.

Make the two reply devices nearly identical, but prominently label them #1 and #2 and include the time you’re suggesting the donor use them. Maybe make them different colors too.

The weird part: In my experience, you get very few second donations. But a lot more first donations.

I’ve also done it with three reply devices. That has worked too, though a touch more risky.

Try or test it. There’s a good chance it will work.


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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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About the blogger

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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