Crowdfunding is a transformative strategy that can be used to harness the power of a large network or group and garner support.
A crowdfunding campaign is typically hosted when an individual or group needs to raise money for an important cause in a limited time span. Some common examples of causes include medical expenses, nonprofit funds, political campaigns, and even animal welfare missions.
Once you’ve solidified your cause, you’ll want to select a platform that best meets your fundraising needs. Then, you’ll begin raising awareness and promoting your fundraiser. There are quite a few channels you can use to market your campaign. The most generic route is to utilize digital marketing, but sometimes choosing other channels, like direct mail, can provide for a pleasant and powerful alternative.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can utilize direct mail as a marketing tool to spread the word about your crowdfunding campaign. Here are three specific ways that direct mail can support your virtual efforts:
- Get the word out about your campaign.
- Break through the digital clutter.
- Build long-term donor relationships.
Leveraging the power of direct mail is a unique way to promote your campaign, which can lead to increased awareness and immense engagement. But first, let’s answer a common question nonprofits have about direct mail: is direct still a viable marketing method and can it benefit their outreach strategy?
Is direct mail worthwhile for nonprofits?
Before launching a direct mail campaign, nonprofits need to determine if traditional mail will be worth the return on the investment. Compared to email and social media, direct mail can get expensive with built-in costs for printing and postage.
However, direct mail is far from dead as reports from nonprofit research show:
- Direct mail is the second most popular way to give after online donations.
- When compared to response rates for email (0.1%) and paid search (0.6%), direct mail is the clear winner with 5.3%.
- Traditional marketing channels are generally seen as more trustworthy with 75% of consumers stating they trust direct mail to help them make purchasing decisions.
- Nonprofits often find success when using a mix of direct mail and online marketing as direct mail makes donors three times more likely to make an online donation.
- Direct mail helps nonprofits make a personal connection with 75% of donors stating that receiving a personalized letter makes them feel special.
Of course, whether direct mail benefits your crowdfunding campaign depends on how your nonprofit approaches this marketing channel. Personalize your content, make sure your letters seem trustworthy, and have your online donation page ready to go after mailing out your fundraising appeals.
1. Get the word out about your campaign
Your direct mail should bring awareness to your virtual campaign and encourage donors to get involved. If you implement this correctly, not only will it create another channel of communication between your organization and your supporters, but it will also raise engagement due to the multi-faceted marketing approach.
The first step in using direct mail to support your campaign is to leverage your existing donors. If you have carried out direct mail campaigns (or just about any other fundraiser) in the past, you should have donor profiles from existing supporters who already give to your organization. These individuals should be targets for your campaign, making sure they’re aware of your ongoing virtual efforts as well.
After talking to existing supporters, make sure that your direct mail is also used as a way to follow up and thank top donors for their contributions to your campaign. If you include personal touches like their name and donation amount, it may even encourage them to donate again!
If you implement direct mail to complement your existing marketing efforts, your donors will become more engaged with your overall campaign. This shouldn’t be different than any other marketing campaign for your organization. After all, you already know that direct mail is still one of the most effective marketing channels for nonprofit organizations, so you’d be remiss to leave it out of your crowdfunding strategy.
2. Break through the digital clutter
One of the most sought-after commodities is your supporters’ engagement and attention. They are pulled left and right by competitors and other distractions—especially when it comes to online engagement. So how can you avoid this? Well, the easiest answer is by engaging with them from outside the digital realm by implementing direct mail in your marketing efforts.
This may seem counterintuitive because crowdfunding is a largely virtual phenomenon, so why would you want to pull your donors away from the computer? The answer lies in grabbing their attention. This is where you have to get creative to implement powerful engagement techniques such as personalized letters and calls to action for your donor.
If you execute a successful direct mail campaign and nail your fundraising ask, you are likely going to rekindle a sense of engagement with your donor. They will not look at your campaign as “another digital ad” but instead a personalized call to action, asking them to contribute to your campaign. This will not only lead to higher engagement but may also lead to increased generosity and a long term relationship with your donor.
3. Build long-term donor relationships
Speaking of long-term supporter relationships, a direct mailing is more personal than a social media share, and donors will feel more inclined to get involved with your organization in the long run when you put extra effort in.
Now that we know why we need to use direct mail to support our crowdfunding campaign, the next step is to garner retention with your donors to keep them coming back time and time again. There are three main strategies to begin to build long term relationships and improve donor retention:
- Relate the donation to the mission. When writing your direct mail appeals, make sure to include a clear and compelling mission statement. If your mission is clear, it provides your donor with a tangible idea of where their money is going. Plus, it allows your donors to feel a deeper connection to the overall mission and vision of your organization.
- Attach each donation with its direct impact. Going a few steps further, you can even communicate the exact dollar amount of a donation with its tangible aspect. Supporting impoverished children is great, but supplying a student with nutritious lunches for a week with a $15 gift is better. In clearly describing their impact, you share the success of their donation with them. This creates a sense of connection between you and your donor and encourages supporters to continue giving to make a difference.
- Express gratitude. Thanking donors should be as important as asking for gifts. After all, showing appreciation is one of the easiest ways to keep them engaged with your organization. It’s also an opportunity to provide an update or remind them of the impact their donation made. This way, they remember the donation and may consider making another one because you made them feel appreciated and a part of your mission.
Direct mail can immensely improve your donor relationships and bring awareness to your crowdfunding campaign due to its personal touch and ease in building long term relationships. Just remember to continue updating your CRM and thanking your donors throughout the continued donor lifecycle.
All in all, direct mail is an immensely important tool that can be used to support your crowdfunding campaigns in powerful ways. When you implement direct mail effectively, you get to see the benefits of a successful crowdfunding campaign and the impact it brings to your mission.
Remember to use direct mail to spread the word about your campaign, use it to break the digital barrier, and increase your donor retention overall. If you use direct mail and implement these three tips, your campaign should see much more success and engagement overall. Good luck!
This was a guest post contributed by Grant Cobb of GivingMail.
Grant Cobb is a fundraising specialist with over 6 years of experience in the nonprofit space. Currently the head of marketing and analytics at GivingMail, he is a huge proponent of data-driven decision making and the push to bring high-level analytics and fundraising to all.
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