Although the move to online channels of communication continues to grow, direct mail still plays an integral part in fundraising efforts. Of course, the need to control your fundraising budget using these multi-channels is more important than ever. In fact, the direct mail campaign that drives your audience to the online channels should be the most cost-effective. Here are three ways to help reduce your direct mail fundraising costs.
- Focus on the Big Donors If you have a donor database of 10,000 and mail to every one of them every time, you may be able to recoup your costs. However, if you focus more consistently on the 2000 donors that traditionally give the most, you'll generate a better return for the dollars spent. By focusing direct mail efforts on your biggest donors, you can cut the number of pieces mailed without dramatically cutting the amount of money raised. You can still mail to the balance of your donors, but also consider combining mail with less expensive channels like email and social media.
- Keep Lists Up to Date People move, they change jobs, they prefer other outreach methods, or they just want out altogether. This might lead to a few dead letters in one mailing, but over time it adds up and so does the cost. So make sure your packages aren't lost in the shuffle. Keep your lists clean. Use the National Change of Address (NCOA) database to update old addresses or scrub undeliverable addresses from your list. Run regular updates to look for duplicates or incomplete addresses. If someone requests information through another channel like email, mark the name for use in your next communication. And when someone asks to opt out, respect their wishes and stop sending mail. They won’t like the intrusion, and you definitely won’t get a donation.
- Streamline Your Mail Package If you’re mailing the nicest, information-packed package possible, you could be spending much more on your direct mail than necessary. Expensive stock and lots of materials are impressive, but they may not bring in enough donations to justify the costs. You can slim down your package and still provide the same information. A basic direct mail package might include a letter with graphics depicting your cause, a reply form, and a reply envelope. Test the effectiveness of providing options for responding, both through the mail and online. Include your website address as a means to donate and offer additional materials for download as well. Reducing the size and weight of your package by eliminating additional pieces lowers your printing and postage costs. Saving just a few pennies per package will add up quickly if your mailing thousands of pieces. With a few adjustments to your next direct mail fundraising package, you could see more donations at a much lower price tag.
For more information on reducing costs, download our FREE resource: 6 Tips to Cut Cost in Direct Mail Programs.