Expert Non-Profit Direct Mail Tips

Here are a few direct mail tips and techniques specifically for non-profit organizations. Contact us if you need more detailed information.

Non-profit direct mail facts:

  • $5.2 billion (estimated) amount in fundraising driven by non-catalog direct mail in 2010
  • 91% of US non-profits use direct mail (Direct Marketing Association)
  • Make-A-Wish, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and United Way all rely heavily on direct mail

Direct Mail Benefits:

  • Lower initial investment than other forms of advertising
  • Lower cost per $1,000 compared to TV/radio commercials, publication ad placement
  • No spam filter, direct mail is delivered straight to the intended target
  • Stays around longer and stands out – on average, direct mail sits on a desk or coffee table for 3-5 days after being received (How fast do you delete emails, forget web pages or print ads?)
  • Can be signed and returned – very beneficial for membership and donation forms that require physical signatures
  • Can be combine with print, e-mail, online and mobile to be a part of a comprehensive marketing campaign
  • Consistent results – direct mail tend to perform the same each time it’s done (if done correctly)

How to do it better:

Use a Non-profit indicia or Non-profit Stamp (with automation):

  • Only 200 piece minimum to use (total, not per zip code)
  • .9 for a non-profit indicia or stamp, .29 for a 4″x6″ postcard with a stamp, .39 for Presort First Class and .44 for first class (stamp)

Saving Money on Postage Pays for a Lot of Printing, Stuffing, Folding, Tabbing and Addressing:

  • Time is money labor + time occupied + toner + labels = expensive
  • Free your staff, interns or volunteers to do other important work for your organization
  • Machines are fast and efficient

Clean Your Mailing List:

  • USPS sees 10 billion pieces of Undeliverable-As-Addressed (UAA) mail per year
  • More than 45 million Americans (14% of population) change their addresses each year
  • NCOA (National Change of Address) Link can correct changed addresses up to 48 months
  • Run NCOA close to mail date to get the latest information
  • Eliminate duplicate and incomplete addresses to reduce cost of sending mail to people who are not there
  • Get a report of bad addresses (UAA mail) back from mail house
  • Avoid missing good donors by knowing you missed them
  • “Churn” is the term for missing a willing donor simply by not asking them to donate again

Return Service Requested:

  • So worth the work to clean your list – Less mistakes = less cost and budget waste
  • Know who you missed and avoid that postage cost of future mailing
  • The Post Office will destroy all UAA non-profit mail that does not request Return Service

Three C’s of Addressing:

  1. Complete – All required elements are present
  2. Correct – All elements are accurate
  3. Current – most recent is always the best

CASS Certification Software:

  • Standard processing software from USPS
  • Confirms and corrects ZIP+4 codes and carrier route information
  • Necessary for some USPS discounts

Profile Donors/Supporters:

  • Purchase list of new prospects based on demographics of current donors/members/supporters
  • Utilize Variable Data Printing to personalized letters and postcards
  • Use a PURL (personalized web address) for increased impact and customization

Control the Timing of Your Message:

  • Blast Campaign (send all at once) only if you can you handle the response volume all at once, if not try a drip campaign
  • Drip Campaign will split up your mail total over multiple weeks or months, allowing for control of response or increase repetition of message
  • Event participation invitations can hit homes on a specific date if planned well

Direct Address Your Mail:

  • Avoid label retail cost and over buying
  • Avoid labels falling off
  • Clean up the design of you mailer
  • Utilize IMb (Intelligent Mail barcode) tracking and postal discounts – even on return envelopes (recent change)

Don’t Forget About the Envelope:

  • Utilize the space by printing on the front and back
  • Teaser copy on the outside will promote opening, but you need to keep it simple
  • Keep the text/graphics specific to offer or audience For The Golfer or Coupon Inside
  • Have a clear Call to Action such as See offer insideOpen today or Get your free gift
  • Use a photo or graphic element, easy to interpret visual images are worth a 1,000 words
  • Do not “fake” official or government looking documents, it’s considered unethical by most

Postcard Sizes & Layouts Have IMPACT:

  • Up to 6″ x 11″ card for same rate, why use a small 4″ x 6″
  • Use one of the USPS guides to make sure your design meets all requirements

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