The fall appeal season is upon us and 2016 presents a unique set of challenges. It is a presidential election year, people are uncertain about the future, and the local economy is ok, but not great. Here are three suggestions that will increase your donations in this competitive and crowded season.
Start Your Fall Appeal Early
This is a presidential election year and there will be a lot of mail pieces in the mail stream and your donor’s mailboxes. You need to start your campaign in September, (not October) to avoid the onslaught of direct mail pieces. By mid-October people will become numb to mail (and email) and they will not pay attention to appeals of any kind until after Thanksgiving. Start your appeal early this year and avoid the noise.
This extremely large volume of direct mail will slow down the mail stream and delay your appeal pieces. This is not the year to mail your appeal in-house by yourself. A professional mail service will clean your list, optimize your mailing, and get it into the mail stream as fast as possible and increase your ability to get attention.
Choose Images and Videos that Resonate
The images and videos used in any campaign must be engaging and tug on the heart strings of the donor. If you resonate with your donors and they will give to your cause. Just a letter with an ask is yesterday’s way of getting donations.
Think about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that raised over $50 Million dollars. It was simple to understand, (ALS is a horrible disease that needs to be cured), the message was engaging, (people dumping buckets of ice water on themselves and then challenging someone else – on video), the way to donate was easy (and affordable for most), and it was easy to share the message, (with social media the donor could challenge their friends).
A professionally designed appeal, like the ALS campaign, will outperform an in-house volunteer-based appeal. It will cost a bit more money but properly executed, it will generate higher returns especially in a tough year
The Magic Touch
All donors are different and will respond to different asks and different media. No one magic appeal will work with all donors, so you need to figure out which approach is best for each segment of your donor base. In all cases you will need to touch (ask) people multiple times in multiple ways before they donate. People are busy and may miss (or misplace) your communication, so every appeal should be set up as a campaign with multiple touch points for the greatest results.
At Prospect Communications we are pros at these multi-touch, multi-media campaigns. If you are looking for donations in this crowded season get hopping and do not wait. Call us, we can help.