8 reasons your last direct mail appeal didn't work (Part 1)
By Wayne Gurley
President & Creative Director
1. You mailed to the wrong audience.
Your mailing list is the single most important element for success in any direct mail appeal. A letter that might have worked gangbusters for some other organization may fail miserably for yours.
At the risk of sounding obvious, the best audience for a direct mail appeal are your active donors. Next best is lapsed donors (those who haven’t given in at least a year).
Keep in mind that the further away in time from a donor’s last gift you get, the worse your response will be. With most of our clients, we can’t go much further than five years from the date of a donor’s last gift.
Ideally, you’re going to want to acquire new donors while you’re also going to the effort to prepare a direct mail appeal. So your prospects should be more than just “suspects.”
A good prospect list will include people who are the correct age for fundraising, and either have more than a casual relationship with your organization, or match up closely with your existing donor base (as in the case of an affinity-oriented rented list). Hopefully, they also will be philanthropically inclined and direct mail responsive.
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