Direct MailFundraising

When more means more.

By | July 10, 2024

Many non-profit still produce newsletters, but are frustrated or resigned to getting mediocre results. Some people think print is not effective in fundraising, but in 2023 our 8-page direct mail appeals for the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church on average generated 187% more than their standard letter-sized direct mail appeals.

On average, the oversized direct mail package generated 187% more donations than their standard size mailings

Are your newsletters generating the donations you want? If not, it is time to break the rules.

Outer envelope for direct mail appeal with many faces in a darkened background and text reading “All of us, at some time or other, need help."
Our 8-page direct mail appeals always start with an outer envelope that invites curiosity.

Out with the newsletter… in with content that inspires donors

Here are two guidelines we use in our campaigns. First, we never call it a “newsletter” – even internally. When the word “newsletter” is used in planning and executing, the content tends to be focused internally, and all good donor communication should always be about the impact the donors are making. By banning the word, we avoid the risk of falling into the trap of making the content news, and putting in content that doesn’t motivate donors to respond. We also don’t have to include all the news, which leads to the same trap – content that doesn’t inspire donors to give. So skip the employee spotlight and find content that excites the recipient.

open page of an 8-page booklet with headline reading “Where help is needed, hope is given”. and a close up detail of a headline reading “Flooded with Tragedy — and Compassion”.

Ditch the masthead

Most organizations have a name/masthead for their newsletter. Another rule we break is not using a masthead. This frees us to create a new theme each time – while staying within brand guidelines. When you use a masthead and follow an identical layout each time your campaigns looks the same. Convention says this is good branding and makes it easier to design each time. But over time they lose their ability to grab the attention of donors. If the goal is to generate donations, this is a fatal mistake. Mailing is expensive. These are big investments, and to squander these resources is missed opportunity.

Components of a direct mail appeal featuring an 8-page booklet, reply card and letter.

The growth of Global Ministries’ annual program over the last four years indicates that each mailing is increasing the success of future appeals because we inspire and celebrate the good things being done when donors are on mission together.

Digital components of the campaign — this shows a phone displaying a social media ad and a tablet displaying an email campaign.

Want to get better results from your annual fund appeals? Connect with Jeffery James on LinkedIn, use our contact form or call Jeffery at 630.267.5009 ext 700.

Jeffery James
Jeffery James
Jeffery is the Creative Director and Principal of Spire2. He brings marketing expertise from a variety of industries. He excels at understanding clients' corporate objectives, translating them into brand positioning and executing marketing materials that exceed expectations.