4 essential questions to ask yourself about your planned or major gift direct mail program

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

 questions to ask yourself about your planned or major gift direct mail program 1. Are you really doing direct mail well? I like to say, “Be donor-centric. Be personalized. Be relevant. Or be gone!” If you’re sending tons of generic, one-size-fits-all printed matter to people’s mailboxes (printed spam), then you’re probably not doing it well.
2. What do your donors think? Do they put up with your direct mail? Or, do they silently cross your organization off their list? Not sure what they think? Consider this: Is your new donor retention rate high? I think if your retention rate is under 40%, your donors are sending you a message about your direct mail program. The question then becomes, are you listening?
3. Are you signing purchase orders out of convenience? Many fundraisers simply don’t have a lot of time and, for that reason, I have a tremendous amount of empathy for them. But I think it’s important to ask yourself the following two questions: Am I saying “Yes” to more direct mail simply as a default option because I’m swamped? Could my organization and its supporters be better served with a new strategy?
4. Will you sell your list of new donors? This is a biggie. Too often when I give to a new organization, I find myself bracing for an onslaught from several other charities. I can only conclude that one or several of them are selling my name to their competitors. Not nice! Not fair!
Need help understanding what your donors are thinking? Survey them! Click here to learn how.


>> Personalization is the key to your donor’s heart
>> If you’re asking yourself whether or not direct mail is dead, then you’re asking the wrong question
>> The ultimate guide for conducting nonprofit donor surveys

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