Are direct mail lifts wasteful?

Lift Monday: A series about the art and science of “Lifts” in direct mail fundraising.

Liftmonday

One of the complaints people in fundraising make about direct mail lifts is that they are “wasteful.” Many go as far as to say lifts will cause a piece to fail because donors will see it as wasteful and refuse to give.

The truth about “waste” is that it’s in the eye of the beholder. Anything sent to you that you don’t want is wasteful. When it’s something you want, the idea of waste doesn’t come up.

Think of it this way: If your niece, nephew, or grandchild sent you a thick envelope packed with their drawings and notes, would you scold them for being “wasteful”? I sure hope not! Most likely it would never occur to you to think of it as anything but delightful.

Same thing in direct mail. If you stuff the envelope with irrelevant junk that donors don’t want, you are — and will be perceived as — wasteful.

But if it’s relevant, interesting, useful stuff that connect with them — not wasteful!

Some direct mail fundraisers sail very close to the wind in that area, really ramping up the chance of being seen as wasteful by the quantity (high) and quality (low) of the lifts they send. I wrote about it here: Is your direct mail fundraising just a garbage factory?

But let’s return to the central point of this whole series on direct mail lifts: When well chosen and executed, they usually improve response. And more lifts improve response more.

Every time you create direct mail, give some thought to including lifts. They are not a must-do, but they are more likely helpful than not.

Read the other Lift Monday posts


Comments

4 responses to “Are direct mail lifts wasteful?”

  1. You are so very right . Still, I try to figure out a balance and it is not so easy to decide on what is relevant and what is waste…I think this is very difficult in practice. If you have mode advices on this topic I would really love to read tehm.

  2. You are so very right . Still, I try to figure out a balance and it is not so easy to decide on what is relevant and what is waste…I think this is very difficult in practice. If you have mode advices on this topic I would really love to read tehm.

  3. It is difficult indeed. Check out the rest of the Lift Monday series (link at bottom of the post) for details on some lift-types that usually work — and the one type that almost always DOESN’T work.

  4. It is difficult indeed. Check out the rest of the Lift Monday series (link at bottom of the post) for details on some lift-types that usually work — and the one type that almost always DOESN’T 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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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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