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1 Direct Mail Fundraising in 2008: Good News/Bad News Good News/Bad News Figures, Forecast, and Focus.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Direct Mail Fundraising in 2008: Good News/Bad News Good News/Bad News Figures, Forecast, and Focus."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Direct Mail Fundraising in 2008: Good News/Bad News Good News/Bad News Figures, Forecast, and Focus

2 2 Good News Figures According to Giving USA 2008: Charitable giving exceeded $300 billion in 2007 for the first time in history Giving rose by 3.9 percent in 2007

3 3 Good News Figures According to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll: 3 of 4 dollars donated in 2007 came from individuals; the rest were from corporations, foundations and charitable bequests 90% of people 65 and older donated money to a charity in the past year 8 in 10 Americans donated money or volunteered time to a charity in the past year

4 4 Good News Figures Non-Profit Times says 8 out of 10 appeals are opened and looked at; direct mail still is the best-read medium Vertis’ Customer Focus Poll, Non-Profit: 59% who give use direct mail for philanthropy 62% say the most important factor is the personalized nature of appeals; 59% say timing; special offer 32%; urgency 30%

5 5 Good News/Bad News Figures In a survey conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University: Fundraisers experienced more success with direct mail in the first half of 2008 than they predicted last December. All other fundraising techniques met with less success than predicted.

6 6 Bad News Figures According to the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll: 66% of Americans expected to donate the same or more this year as they did last year, but 72% said their finances would affect their philanthropy. U.S. companies donated an average of 0.8% of their pretax profits in 2007, down from 1.4% in 2004.

7 7 Bad News Figures The top 8% of households based on income and wealth, which is responsible for more than 50 percent of charitable giving, have been most affected by the current economic crisis. Only 6% of all households gave online last year, according to Giving USA

8 8 Forecast: Partly Cloudy According to Boston College's Center on Wealth and Philanthropy: Charitable giving levels may not be affected as much or for as long as feared; Because high-net worth donors tend to plan their contributions a year ahead, the full impact to giving levels may not be felt until next year Decline in total donations this year may not be significant

9 9 Forecast: Potentially Stormy The Perfect “F” Storm: food prices, fuel prices, financial uncertainty, falling employment figures If incomes decline significantly, the impact on charitable donations is likely to be much greater than it has been so far this year.

10 10 Focus on: Turning Prospects into Donors with Direct Mail Mission clarity: What are your goals? Organizational effectiveness: how efficient are you in fulfilling your mission? Testimonials and endorsements: use a powerful story from someone who has been helped in a tangible way; get endorsements from celebrities whose support lends credibility.

11 11 Turning Prospects into Donors Impact made by the gift: specifically, how will you put donations to work over the next 12 months? Values: clearly demonstrated ideals of your organization will coincide with their own, bolstering the case for support.

12 12 Turning Prospects into Donors Accomplishments: what did you achieve with donated funds in the past 6-12 months? Transparency: openness builds trust; show them the money! Educate, but don’t forget to ASK. Evaluate your results.

13 13 Direct Mail Prospecting Summary M ission clarity O rganizational effectiveness T estimonials and endorsements I mpact made by the gift V alues A ccomplishments T ransparency E ducate and evaluate results

14 14 Focus On: Improving the Long- Term Value of Your Donors Recognize the relationship and make a big deal about it: Acknowledge the contribution with a thank you note. Send a new donor welcome kit. Engage using meaningful content delivered through multi-channel efforts — newsletters, regular updates, surveys, tax statements, invitations.

15 15 Focus On: Improving the Long- Term Value of Your Donors New and easy ways of giving should be introduced: pledge opportunities, honor/memorial, monthly, and planned giving options. Earn trust with operational openness; document your good stewardship.

16 16 Focus On: Improving the Long- Term Value of Your Donors Widen the scope of your existing programs or add new ones — a static organization loses support of donors over time. Ask again within 6 months of the first gift, suggesting reasonable upgrades. Analyze results. Listen to donors. Regularly solicit feedback about what they want.

17 17 Donor Cultivation Summary R ecognize the relationship E ngage N ew ways of giving E arn their trust W iden the scope of your programs or add new ones A sk again within 6 months and analyze results L isten to them

18 18 Focus On: Letter Content For older donors: use stories to elicit an emotional response For Gen X and Gen Y: report results, detail plans and offer involvement options For Baby Boomers: use both emotional and factual approach For all audiences, include details on where their donations go

19 19 Focus On: Letter Length Emotional copy should be longer Fact-based copy should be shorter Graphics: Use pie charts to demonstrate good stewardship Current trends favor shorter letters, due to influence of Internet and E-mail, but… Be sure you have made a clear case for the benefits of giving to your organization

20 20 Focus On: Letter Style Don’t obsess about sentence structure… make it conversational and readable Keep paragraphs short – 5 lines or less Use 11 or 12 point type Preserve white space with good margins and generous line spacing

21 21 Focus On: Making Your Case To make a solid case for support, describe how your experience, achievements and plans will : Save lives, Improve lives, Create hope for the future, Achieve greater cost efficiency, Expand programs to do more, and… How this will be of potential benefit to donor

22 22 Focus On: the Ask in the Letter Personalize the ask based on donor history For donors, try to work in a “soft” ask by paragraph 3 Ask should be in the last or penultimate paragraph Repeat the soft ask in the P.S., unless you have something more compelling to relate, such as a challenge grant

23 23 Focus On: Setting Achievable Goals Limit acquisition to renewable new donors Choose one: growth in donor file or revenue? Keep to schedule and stay on course until results are clear

24 24 Focus On: Reducing the Budget Allocate resources where they will most impact ROI – maximize efforts to core donors Carefully monitor your lapsed segments by year of lapsed to reduce risk of over-mailing Mail conservatively to event attendees Keep data clean and updated Think twice before giving away premiums or enclosing non-essential inserts

25 25 Focus On: Reducing the Budget Be judicious in your use of color For larger mailings, make sure your package can be inserted by machine Confirm that your package will qualify for USPS automation discounts Use first class mail only for your major donors

26 26 Focus On: Long-Term Success Find ways to elicit multiple, upgraded gifts from each donor: Acknowledge gifts Send welcome kits to new donors Ask again within 6 months Offer secure on-line and monthly giving options Send Newsletters or other updates Provide year-end tax statements Promote Leadership Giving Levels Give good reasons for donors to upgrade; acknowledge when they do Multi-channel marketing – do it now!

27 27 Focus On: Short-Term Strategy Look for Challenge Grant opportunities – donors will appreciate the positive effects of compounding their gift Stress planned giving, gifts of real estate, life insurance, and other types of donations as an alternative to giving cash or stock Emergency Appeals for Social Service organizations – now is the time, but don’t over-use it!

28 28 Focus On: Short-Term Strategy Focus on donor’s emotional identification – their sense of caring. Donors who are able to give more will upgrade to compensate for others who can no longer afford to contribute. 55% of Americans said friends and family have the most influence on their decision to give to a charity, so cultivate your donors!

29 29 Fundraising is a marathon, not a sprint. Use every technique available to you to generate a gift, but don’t conclude success or failure on immediate results alone. You’re in it for the long haul … your ROIs are profitable only when you’ve started the renewal phase. Organizational patience, foresight and fortitude will reward you in the end! Conclusion

30 30 Contact: For more information or for permission, please contact Marcia Scowcroft.

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