Personalize your appeal letters

personalize your fundraising direct mailIt would be great if you could speak face-to-face with each and every one of your donors. But when you’re fortunate enough to have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of supporters, that becomes impractical.

Direct mail is an effective way for fundraisers to reach a large number of people when soliciting donations. Still, you want to make your donor feel as if you are talking directly to him or her.

Here are several ways to personalize letters:

  • In the salutation, it’s better to address the donor by name rather than just using a generic “Dear Friend.” Print shops can insert the name of each donor into the salutation. That’s pretty basic stuff, but did you realize that you can insert all sorts of text? You could add a line such as, “Since you have already made a donation of BLANK, with an additional gift of BLANK, you join our prestigious group of $1,000 donors.” You supply the figure for the first gift and the technology can calculate how much the additional gift would need to be to add to $1,000. Look around for a shop that has that technological capability.
  • Do you have a thank you letter from a grateful recipient of your services? Send that testimonial to your donors. As the cover letter, affix a sticky note with a handwritten message from your board president saying, “Just thought you’d be interested in reading this.” Even though the sticky notes can be created on a printing press, it lends a very personal feeling to the appeal letter. Don’t forget to include a response piece in your package.
  • Rather than using a bulk indicia (the text in the upper right corner of the envelope indicating that postage has been paid), use a stamp—a bulk stamp! These stamps look similar to the stamps we use for first-class mail, but allow you to send out your letters at bulk rates. These stamps help make fundraising mail look first class, special and personal, and can boost the response to your appeal letter.

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