Connect with Donors Where They Are—at Home

Ask any nonprofit development professional what matters most to them and they’ll likely answer, connecting with donors. 

Before the March 22 PAUSE, there were many ways to reach donors. Now, everyone is home while physical events are canceled, postponed, or going online. While virtual events are a nice option, one thing is missing from the digital world—an intimate connection. 

From experience, we know that people give to nonprofits when they feel an emotional connection. While it’s possible to connect to an email, after weeks and weeks of quarantine and nothing but digital communications, an important and heartfelt message from a worthy nonprofit may become lost in a potential donor’s inbox.

Enter Direct Mail

As marketers, we know that print engages audiences more effectively due to its intimate and secure nature. According to MarketingProfs, the response rate for physical media marketing is 37% higher than the email rate. And in a recent study, Neuromarketing reported that print communications caused more activity in brain areas associated with value and desire than digital communications.

Home Is Where the Heart Is — Especially Now

One challenge that direct mail fundraising campaigns faced in the past is that recipients were often busy, preoccupied with families, work, travel, and more. But in today’s world, we know exactly where potential donors are. With so many virus-related emails filling up in-boxes and much of the standard junk mail taking a breather, a smart direct-mail fundraising campaign can really attract attention. And speaking anecdotally, I actually look forward to leaving my new home office and checking the mail for packages from Amazon or other entities.

Creativity, Message, and Tone Matter

As with all communications, creativity, tone, and message matter. The most successful direct-mail communications stand out both physically (try something other than a standard postcard) and creatively, with copy and visuals that acknowledge our present reality, and convey information in memorable, entertaining, and emotionally compelling ways.

Mix Media and Bolster Results

Of course, digital marketing should never be ignored, but in most cases, a mix of print and digital media will drive the strongest results.