Integration & The Future: Solicitation Letters Interview

All this week I’ll be talking with Geoffrey Peters and Steven Maggio experts in writing excellent solicitation letters and direct mail.

How important is integrating online & offline media important in a direct mail campaign?

CDR Fundraising Group:
It is very important. Donors who are multi-channel donors have a long-term value that is between 3 and 13 times greater than single channel donors. Integration is a major value added activity.
Geoffrey Peters, President, www.cdrfg.com

DaVinci Direct:
Direct mail is still the workhorse of most direct response fundraising programs, but online giving is becoming more significant each year. Certain non-profit categories, for example, political campaigns and disaster relief organizations have already had huge success online.

At DaVinci Direct, we encourage all clients to give their donors the option of online giving – usually on the reply slip and also in the letter text. We capture email addresses on our reply slips and help the client grow an “organic” email list, which is much more effective than renting email lists.

There are also programs by which you can acquire email addresses when you have the donor’s name and address – but people who “opt-in” are best. Often we’ll offer special “e-updates” or “e-newsletters” to get people to give us an email address.

Nonprofits should tout the fact that e-appeals are more cost-effective for the organization, allowing more money to go directly to programs. Plus, it’s the “green” thing to do – and a good way to tap into younger donors.

Recent studies indicate that a certain subset of your file will give both online and through direct mail – and that these people give more generously and will have a longer lifetime value than donors who give through only one channel.
Steven J. Maggio, President, www.davinci-direct.com

What does the future of direct mail/solicitation letters look like?

CDR Fundraising Group:
There is some evidence that the leading edge of the baby boom generation is becoming direct mail active despite the fact that many are also “on-line.” This suggests that millions of aging Americans will broaden the pool of those who tend to respond to direct mail solicitations (i.e. those over age 60). This bodes well for direct mail as a channel. The major threats are not the other channels (e.g. on-line, DRTV, display advertising) but rather the problems being faced by the US Postal Service.
Geoffrey Peters, President, www.cdrfg.com

DaVinci Direct:
Whether your letters are sent through the mail or the Internet, there will always be a need for good writing that touches the hearts and minds of your donors and prospects. By continually testing all variables such as list, offer, copy, design, format, postage, timing of appeals, etc. – we will continually refine our communication with donors.

As we develop ever more sophisticated ways of collecting and using data about our donors, we’ll make our messages more personal and relevant to each individual.

Online giving will soon begin to represent a bigger share of the marketing mix for non-profits, as will SMS (texting) which is all the rage with young people today. It’s all about giving your donors the choice of how and when they want to give.
Steven J. Maggio, President, www.davinci-direct.com

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