Email v Direct Mail

What works … email or direct mail? They both do, but the effectiveness of one still outweighs the other.

Even though an estimated 80-90 percent of the population (NZ) have access to the internet, not everyone who has internet access uses email.

If you’re relying on email you could be missing a percentage of the population, it doesn’t matter what the percentage, any audience your not getting your message to is potential lost income.

Rethinking the Printed Newsletter: Did You Jump to Email Too Soon? by Joanne Fritz is a great read and should get you thinking.

Nonprofits have been rapidly kicking the print newsletter to the curb.

“And it’s understandable. Email newsletters are much more cost efficient.

“No paper, no postage, no printing. But, if newsletters are used as fundraising tools, that cost efficiency is misleading, given that print newsletters actually bring in much more money. Newsletters, especially paper ones, can be money makers rather than net losses.

“There is a war going on between email everything and print. As Kivi Leroux Miller’s recent survey of nonprofit communications trends shows, the war is about even for fundraising appeals. Some 26% of nonprofit communicators say they will send an email appeal at least quarterly this year, while 29% plan to send a direct mail appeal twice this year.”

Read full article here

See also:


Q: Are we relying too much on emails to communicate with our donors? A: Yes What I hear you say. Simply put sometimes an email isn’t the best form of communication, yet many organisations are relying on email as a quick way to communicate, but often something is lost in translation and, true communication can […]


A few times recently I’ve been pulling my hair out waiting for responses to emails, and now I’ve found out why some emails are going without acknowledgment for days – and it’s not because they’ve been caught in junk or spam folders. It would appea…


There’s no single way that’s better than any other to gain awareness and support for an organization, putting your eggs in one basket, expecting a succes from only one method is a false hope. Using a combination is the best bet as this infographic…


Ever stopped and listened to your fundraising pitch?  Would you support you? All too often fundraisers fall into the trap of “repetition” and simply “going through the motions” – not engaging supporters, simply asking for more support. If your supporters aren’t being updated about the work of your organisation, how their support has helped and […]

Are you visible?

Some organisations are screaming out for support to enable them to do their work however, some of these have no visibility – could this be holding them back?

Organisations that have a high profile, have easy recall with the public are more likely to gain sustained, ongoing support; whereas those who for whatever reason don’t shout out about what they’re doing miss out.

People will generally support organisations they have an affinity with or those that have a high profile, if you are not in either camp you’re going to miss out.

Communicating with supporters, current and lapsed is only part of it, organisations need to be keeping their message in front of people, not only at appeal time, but whenever possible.

If your supporters are seeing you and only see other organisations their allegiance can and will change.

But, importantly too, is that your visibility will help grow your supporter base.

Any organisation that doesn’t raise it’s head, wave it’s arms around and shout “here we and this is what we’ve done” will be left behind, growing a supporter base will be more difficult and people will bypass it for others that are readily identifiable.

Do you want to be left behind?

Are you sharing your stories, the good, the bad; how is this working for you?

Why aren’t you sharing your story, what impact are you noticing?

Does “brand recognition” make it easier for you to select what organisation you will support?

See also:




Fundraising – Simply Going through the Motions

Ever stopped and listened to your fundraising pitch?  Would you support you?

All too often fundraisers fall into the trap of “repetition” and simply “going through the motions” – not engaging supporters, simply asking for more support.

If your supporters aren’t being updated about the work of your organisation, how their support has helped and what your next plans are – you’re not engaging with them, and simply are using them as ATMs.

If you’ve been around fundraising for any length of time, you will know that it’s important to treat ever donor as an individual.

With the competition for the “charity dollar” different tactics are used to try and connect with people, and those who know what they are doing are more “personal” in the way the approach their supporters.

Knowing who your donor is, age, sex, marital status, and knowing where they live; gives you the ability to truly “know” them and thus connect with them in ways that will likely have more positive and greater response rate, a better return on investment (ROI) to use business speak.

The knowledge that you have of your donors, their giving pattern, what makes them “tick” means you’re more likely to be able to lower the cost of fundraising by having less “hit and miss” attempts.

Those who are truly good at what they do know how important it is to give feedback to donors, donors want to know that their support is making a difference.

Donors need to know that charity is important, what it’s doing and that if it wasn’t for them (donors) they work wouldn’t get done.

Next time to write, email or contact a donor – remember they have a name, use the right salutation, Mrs Brown may be better replaced with Mary – it’s more personal.

By knowing who your donor is, you’re able to adapt copy to specific donor groups – if you know who your donors are, what makes them tick, use language, phrases and information that hits the mark. What works for one group won’t necessarily work for another group.

As part of the planning for your next appeal, stop, think how you can better engage with donors, it’s worth the little extra effort. And, could improve your ROI. What have you got to lose?

See also:

Pick up the phone and say Thank You

Do you know why people lose interest in your organization?

Have a cuppa with your sponsors

Prostitutes or Clients – How do you treat your donors?

Donor Bill of Rights

Am sure I shared this before, if so, no harm sharing it again.

Have a read and share your thoughts, is there anything you would add, anything you would change or remove, in the comments below.

Donor Bill of Rights

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

  1. To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
  2. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
  3. To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
  4. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.
  6. To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
  7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
  8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
  9. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
  10. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

The text of this statement in its entirety was developed by the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel (AAFRC), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and adopted in November 1993.


See also:

More Openness and AccountabilityNeeded

Our Population is Changing

It doesn’t matter where you are, the population around you is changing, therefore your donor catchment is also changing; are you changing with your catchment?

If you aren’t changing with your catchment you are likely to be missing out on gaining new support, new opportunities to grow your organisation.

Often I hear people in organisations say that a certain “new” segment of the area won’t support them, that they won’t understand what it is the organisation is aiming to do.

This can be changed quite simply – communicate with, introduce yourself  and get to know them and in turn they’ll get to know you.

Growing new support from a new immigrant community needed be any harder than growing support from any other sector of the community.

If we take a look at Auckland, a population of 1.3 million – of that there’s a mix made up of … (the data below is from Statistic NZ – Census Map 2013)


European percentage of total people stated 59.3
Maori percentage of total people stated 10.7
Pacific peoples percentage of total people stated 14.6
Asian percentage of total people stated 23.1
Mid Eastn Latin American African percent of total people stated 1.9
New Zealander percentage of total people stated 1.1
Other ethnicity nec percentage of total people stated 0.1
Total people other ethnicity percentage of total people stated 1.2


It’s not hard to see that if your organisation is only tailoring your marketing, donor support, donor acquisition communication to the ‘population’ you are used to – that you are missing out.

Take for example those who identified as Asian in the last census – 23.1 percent, if your organisation is not attempting to, or isn’t communicating effectively with this sector of the population; you are missing out and need to change your strategy.

If it means having your communications translated, explore it, perhaps there are people in the community who would be willing to help with translation services as a way of supporting your work.

When it comes to face-to-face or phone based communication, look at the possibility of employing on a fixed term contract people to do this for you, again, you may find you already have supporters who will assist in these areas.

Are you tapping into new communities, new segments of the population? If so, how have you gone about this? Please share you experiences in the comments below.



How will Cuts to Postal Deliveries Affect Charities

June 2015 will see a change in postal deliveries, a cut from six day delivery to three. From NZ Post’s perspective this is probably good business, but for charities there could be a big impact.

What will your organisation do in the time leading up to the change? Now is the time to think about what you will do. Leaving it until a few months before will be too late if you want to keep good communication flow with supporters who don’t want or, are unable to receive your information, your “pleas” for support via other means.

Will you encourage supporters, current and prospective, to subscribe to your email updates, so to be able to get information to them when you need them to act? Or will you change the way in which you manage you pleas?

What ever you decide, don’t leave the thinking until the last minute, if you can get supporters to accept you communication via electronic forms a long time in advance of the change in the postal delivery change you will more likely have a better chance than if you leave it until the 11th hour.

We all know there are organizations who like to use multiple channels to communicate but, there are many who rely heavily on the mailings to communicate. It will be this group who are most likely to be affected more – and unless this group starts planning now the outcome could be that they face a crisis that could have been averted had they started planning for the change early on.

If you’re using email, post and social media to communicate, then the change may not have a big impact when it comes to appeals. But, if you’re only relying on mail, then you could see yourself having to juggle budgets, perhaps even having to cut service delivery to adjust to the change.

There’s still a number of supporters who won’t want to use electronic means for communications, so you will have to be the one who makes the change.

Perhaps you will need to adjust your appeal calendar – is this something you are able, or, prepared to do? The time is now to start thinking about this, don’t leave it too late or you could miss out on retaining donors.

The cost of gaining a new donor will be greater than the cost, time and effort you put into forward planning for the change.

June 2015 may seem a long way off, but as we all know, time passes quickly when we’re all busy. Start planning now – you can’t afford to miss the post.

Number Withheld

It’s dinner time, you’re sitting at the dining table enjoying a tasty morsel, catching up on what your family has bee doing during the day – the suddenly you’re interrupted by the shrill sou d of your phone ringing.

Racing to get it, you trip over the cat, almost collide with the door frame – on reaching the phone you see that the number is withheld, not knowing who it is causes a mild panic. Is it a call from the hospital to say your ailing mother needs you?

Picking it up, the caller says “Good evening this is Marsha from XYZ, how are you today?” – What – I’ve just stubbed my toe, stepped on the cat and panicked thinking this was a call about my mother, and you ask how I am, what do you want.

The caller proceeds to explain the needs of the organizations she’s calling about, you’re mind is elsewhere – do you really care? In all probability not, sure you care about others, but right now your mind is elsewhere.

You ask if she can call back or if you can call her, only to be told she’s busy and will try you another time – when, at dinner tomorrow night most likely.

Ok, we’ve probably all had the calls, we may have even made them to raise awareness of our organization – but, here’s the question asked by many – why do charity calls all tend to have a withheld number? Don’t they want people to be able to make a note of the number and call them back, or is it to hide so as not to get irate homeowners calling to voice their disapproval a being disturbed

How many people do organizations miss out in talking to simply because no number is displayed? I’d suggest quite a high number as many people I’ve spoken with don’t answer their phone if there’s no number displayed.

Imagine if an organization got to take to 100 more people simply because their number was displayed, if only twenty percent of these said ‘yes’ the organization in need of support would have the potential to grow and further assist those it is set up to assist.

If your organization runs telephone campaigns does your phone system allow your number to be displayed

Does your organization hide its phone number/s – if so why?

As a homeowner do you answer calls where numbers are withheld – why?

What’s your general view on dinner time charity calls, are they intrusive, poorly timed?

Would you like the ability to have a call at a time convenient to yourself?

I’d appreciate your comments on charity calls – not just around the issue of withheld numbers, bad timing, frequency, etc. Please leave a comment below.