Donor perspective on targeted mail appeal

As originally promised when I first started this blog, I wanted to engage others in resource development discussions; however, I really wanted to be “donor-centered” about it.


So, yesterday I posted a question that a good friend of mine asked me about targeted mail and my opinion about including a copy of the written case statement in the mail package. Since emailing some advice to this friend, I decided it would probably be wise to ask real donors about their targeted mail and direct mail experiences and motivations.


Here is one donor’s perspective on what appealed to them when they have responded to mail appeals:


Yes, I have given to a non-profit charity through a targeted or direct mail solicitation.  It started when I was 9-years-old to an organization named “World Vision”.  I was excited to be able to make a $9.00 donation per month and get a photo to show me a kid that I was helping. I even had a kid write back to me to say thank you. In this case, I’m sure I read the letter and maybe that is what prompted me to give, but I was young and do not recall what it said.


I have also given to Easter Seals, American Heart & Lung Association as well as a few other organizations because they sent me mailing labels. Now, the only reason I gave to these entities was because I wanted to use the mailing labels and felt guilty using them if I didn’t give. I did not have any direct connection to them nor do I recall receiving a thank you letter or note from them. I know these entities are doing good things, but I was just not connected to the mission so I have no desire to give again.  Also, in these cases, I didn’t even read the letter enclosed.


Finally, I have given to several Boys & Girls Clubs across the Pacific Region….most simply because they asked. Yes, I read the letters and many are very good, some just okay, and others unfortunately were very lame…but I still give because I am familiar with and believe in the mission.


I find it interesting that this donor didn’t do a lot of reading of stuff in the envelope before deciding to contribute.


What about you? Have you ever personally contributed to a charity, political candidate or cause just based on a mailing? Please share your story and what got you hooked?


About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on April 12, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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