How to Use Direct Mail to Boost your Online Fundraising


Fundraising Tips

Nonprofits Mar. 8th, 2024

Fundraising is always most effective when you use various strategies. Fundraising methods such as call time, direct mail, email and social media can all be used to fundraise. Many people may think that direct mail is dead, however, direct mail is still an effective tool that can not only bring in cash donations, but can give a boost to your online fundraising strategy.

Our friends over at Blueprint Public Affairs collected information from their clients’ direct mail fundraising campaigns. They found that direct mailing resulted in an increase in overall email revenue. In fact, they found that email revenue increased by 28.43 percent. 

Letters are tangible and longer lasting. People are likely to keep a letter around before they remember to toss it. After a direct mail letter, the donor is likely to make up their mind if they will donate or not. When they find an email in their inbox they are more likely to respond because it’s quick and easy.

Once you’re ready to organize a direct mail piece you should follow these steps to make sure your direct mail piece will boost your online fundraising.

1) Use Mailings to Move Donors Online

Often, with a direct mail piece, organizations include a remittance envelope (pre addressed envelope for collecting donations). An alternative option is to provide online donation instructions. Give your donors the URL (it should be short and simple) and a step by step to guide to complete their donation online. You can also collect email addresses on the remittance envelopes to begin transitioning donors online.

2) Use email as support

Sending emails after direct mail pieces have arrived give donors a quick and easy way to make their donation, they don’t even need to follow your step-by-step instructions and type out the URL. They can access your donation form with one click. Make sure your email contains multiple links and/or buttons to your fundraising page. Also be sure to follow general best practice for email fundraising.

3) Use social media as support

Social media can also provide additional support for direct mail pieces, just like emails. Social Media puts your organization back in front of your supporters’ minds and gives them a simple way to reshare with their connections. Again, always include a link to your fundraising page. 

4) Stay Consistent

Your branding should stay the same across emails, letters, and social media. Match your logos and styling on letters and social media to your website. This consistency helps donors to connect each medium together. Similarly to matching your branding, your messaging needs to match. If you have a goal or deadline in one form of communication, you should also have the same goal or deadline in the other. 

5) Send Handwritten Thank you Notes

You should always be thanking your donors, and a handwritten thank you note can go a long way and is a great use of direct mail funds. Whether you choose to write the note to your top donors, or direct mail donors, it doesn’t matter. 

Using multiple fundraising methods will ultimately lead to an increase in donations; more touches to the donors provides more ways for them to complete a donation. This will also help you find out which method your donors prefer and prioritize your time accordingly.

Eric Bloom

With 17 years of experience, I have become accustomed to identifying key issues in order to craft impactful operational strategies, while fostering trust through exceeding expectations. My cross-industry experience (from politics to finance to healthcare to name a few) informs innovative solutions, tailored to address unique concerns and bolster the reach and effectiveness of initiatives.