The Fundraiser - Practical advice and insight for the charity sector

Posted in Opinion

Make the most of every mailshot

Tony Kemp, Hello Market

“There are lots of things fundraisers can do to improve the quality of their direct mail and therefore increase response rates, whether it’s an appeal in the wake of a natural disaster or a long running annual request.” Tony Kemp, Hello Market


First impressions count - so mail communications done well can be the difference between a failed campaign and a landslide response. Follow these tips and advice before you embark on your next campaign.


1. Understand Your Data


Data is more than just names and addresses. Fundraisers may already know far more than they think about their supporters. Take a minute and consider the data already held, facts such as age, gender, donation history and geographical location.


These are simple yet valuable insights that can be analyzed and channeled into a more effective personalised campaign where the end result improves engagement and shows audience empathy.


2. Use Relevant Imagery


Using tailored images are an effective way of showing empathy with the audience, which will help achieve a better response from each individual. So, it's important to make sure that the images they receive are relevant to them, for example if you're contacting an older couple about their support of a special care baby unit, use an image of grandparents with a new baby. These tailored images can also be changed in flight to suit each donor or donor category ensuring every individual receives their most appealing message.


3. Communicate Regularly


Send out communications regularly; keep in touch with supporters and donors.


Got some interesting news? Updates on a recent appeal? Case study for a beneficiary? Tell people. By keeping in touch regularly charities will be at the forefront of their audience’s mind when they are ready to donate again.


“Communication and marketing shouldn’t be thought of as feast or famine, it should be continuous like grazing.”


4. Let's Talk About V.A.T.


VAT rules alter according to the make-up of a mail pack so it pays to think about what content could be combined, or usage of one item changed. Subtle changes could save significant amounts of money in upfront costs.


5. Capture, capture, capture


Never miss an opportunity to record new information about supporters and turn it into meaningful insight.


Online surveys, purchase history, social media interaction, feedback forms, reward schemes, web/pod-cast sign ups etc are all great ways to learn more about supporters and potential donors.


“The better fundraisers understand their audience the better they’ll be able to engage them with personalised, relevant messages, helping to increase response and build a relationship.”


6. Integrate Your Campaigns


It is crucial to integrate and distribute marketing efforts across multiple channels such as direct mail, email, SEO, social, online ads and PR content to achieve the best possible uptake and visibility.


“When a campaign, its themes and its messaging are experienced at multiple touch points by a potential customer they are far more likely to interact or consider your brand when choosing their next supplier, especially if what they are seeing is personalised and relevant to them,” Tony said.


7. Digital Print for the Digital Age


Technology in the print industry has changed dramatically over the past decade with digital print allowing the print industry to catch up with the digital age. Any element of personalisation can now be printed to help create a bespoke communication with much more impact.


With this in mind, consider using digital print - it’s quicker and perfect for smaller, more targeted campaigns. If fundraisers want to go one step further and produce a more sophisticated campaign which addresses people on a more one-to-one basis using the intelligence held in their database (sex, age, location etc).



Hello Market , owned and developed by DMP, the Yorkshire-based printer, allows businesses of all sizes to create tailored, personalised, dynamic communications. A sort of ‘Moonpig’ (and much more) for marketing materials, the design software is free to use – and you only pay for what is printed and mailed out.

Sponsored article.

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