In the fundraising community we understand that the most powerful way to increase the return on investment for direct mail appeals is to increase engagement. If your pack resonates with a donor, if it makes them feel connected to the cause and that they are making a real difference, it will drive them to give.
Increasing the engagement of your pack doesn’t have to be a costly exercise. This will defeat your original objective as increasing your cost per pack too much will negatively impact your ROI. There are cost effective ways to increase the impact of appeal packs and inspire your donors that can be achieved through the latest print technology and data smarts.
Here are 5 considerations for your next appeal pack:
- 1 – Letter Personalisation
The donor needs to feel as though you are talking directly to them. Personalise your letter to show that you understand them and appreciate their support. If your data is up to scratch, with digital printing technology, you will be able to personalise far beyond the salutation. Use variable printing to include detail in your letter copy such as the donor’s last gift and how it helped. Or use information provided in previous donor surveys to make your appeal letters extra personal. Here are some examples:
“Thank you <name>, for your recent gift of <$60>. We are so grateful and your kind donation has helped to fund <life-saving research>.”
“We know that you are particularly passionate about <helping seniors maintain their independence> and that’s why we’re writing to you today to ask for your support”.
- 2 – Pack personalisation
Don’t limit personalisation to just your letter. With intelligent matching and digital print technology, your mail house partner will be able to match multiple personalised pieces in each pack. This is a cost effective way to make generic lift pieces feel more personal. For example:
- Personalise and pre-fill response forms and thank your donor by name for their gift
- Add the donors name to lifts for example in headline or on personalised “hand-written” sticky notes
- Consider personalising the reply paid envelope for example “A gift from <first name> to support…”
Further, personalisation can extend to imagery so that the look and feel of your pack can also be changed across your donor base. For example, where you have an enhanced brand in place for your high value donors. You can even personalise imagery to depict something that the donor has supported previously such as providing an update on a child they have sponsored, or a person that the donor funded an assistance dog. Essentially, your donor data can drive digital print variables to make the pack really feel as though it has been created for the donor.
- 3 – Lift formats
For your appeal letter, the crafting of your copy is everything and it’s where fundraising copywriters really shine. The letter needs to resonate with your donor, it needs to inspire them and take them on a journey that leads to their donation. If the letter is all about the copy, then your lifts are all about the visual. This is where images and creative ideas come to life. With the digital print technology now available you can produce high quality lift pieces without blowing your budget. Lift pieces such as scrapbooks, journals and photo albums are a great way to tell your story visually. Providing a keepsake or small gift to your donor has been proven to increase average gift value. So think about personalised address labels, pens, and thin notepads. There are so many options.
- 4 – Pack versions based on value
We all love a premium lift piece but for donors whose average gift may only be $30 per appeal, using premium lifts will increase your cost per pack to negatively impact your ROI. Using premium lifts for your high value and perhaps mid value donors is more likely to drive engagement where you need it, for the donors who have the greatest capacity to give.
Segment your donor base into lower value, mid value and high value donors based on their average gift. This is usually calculated over the last 12 months, however there are various methods to determine average gift and to define low, mid and high values donors. This will depend on your organisation.
- 5 – Number of lifts
The general rule of thumb is that the more lifts you can include in your appeal pack, the higher your average gift. Split testing is a great way to determine whether this is true for your organisation. Across segments, try split testing so that donors receive 3, 4 or 5 lifts. In your campaign analysis, you can then track your cost per pack and average gift to determine whether increasing your number of lifts positively impacted ROI.
Further, applying the same methodology as point 4, increasing the number of lifts for mid and high value donors could be the best use of your budget. Always consider how your lifts will be inserted into the envelope and work with your mail house to ensure that the outer envelope won’t be packed so tightly that insertion becomes problematic.
As supporters of the FIA Conference and the fundraising industry, we partner with NFP’s to make your DM budget go further and to help you improve engagement and ROI for each and every appeal. For further information on how we can help you get closer to your donors contact Blue Star DIRECT HERE or call 1800 644 442 today!