Jeff and I have both written articles about how mailing more times, raised more money. Because we see so MUCH data around giving, we are both huge advocates for mailing more often. Not because we sell mailings or print, but because it gets the best income for the charity.
So why on earth would I suggest to a fundraiser that she should REDUCE the number of mailings?
That’s what I did when an Ireland-based fundraiser booked a 25-minute chat with me to look at how she could improve her fundraising.
These FREE 25-minute sessions are available for fundraisers working in charities worldwide. You just need a computer, mic, webcam, and internet. As long as you can understand English, Australian or American. You can book them, with Jeff or me, at a time that works for you right here.
In the chat, we try to point you in the right direction and lift your knowledge about something really important to you. We are also using them for us to find out what smart fundraisers like you need in terms of training!
Our training, blogs, and freebies (like the video below) are being dynamically shaped by fundraisers with real problems, right now.
OK, still want to know WHY I suggested the Irish fundraiser reduce the number of mailings?
Jeff was perplexed too. So this is what happened when he asked me about it…
Hope you like the video…
P.S. Booking a 25-minute call is not the only way to help shape our training, and learn what you want to know. Post questions to us on Facebook, LinkedIn or at the bottom of relevant blogs like this one. We love to share!
Some good take-away info as always, thanks. Meeting with my Board in a week’s time and need some good examples to back up my proposal so this is helpful.
How did it go with the board!?
Thank you both for this! Something that would be very helpful for us to show our national offices is a typical donor communication schedule from some successful small to mid-sized organizations. We have a big fundraising event every year (a walk-a-thon) and we send 8 emails out to participants (one per week leading up to the event) and 9 to non-participants and our national offices are panicking that we’re communicating too frequently.
We only do 2 appeals per year (A YEAR!) and 2 newsletters per year (with a very soft ask in the cover letter). Any other communication is thank yous for donations. Unless you sponsor a child then you get 3 child updates per year on top of the rest.
I remember hearing stories from other small and medium organizations at a storytelling conference where they appeal for funds 21 times per year bc 22 saw a drop in giving! Plus they send newsletters every month. I feel like we don’t communicate enough to our donors but the EDs of some of our national offices live in fear that we over communicate.
Could any of you reading this be willing to divulge your donor communication frequency? How many pieces and to which segments? I would be eternally grateful.
Hi – it would be great if others out there could share insights and experience but..
1) # emails for an event. 1 a week before probably right, but I would aim for at least five to seven in the last two weeks alone. Generally, more emails to an event = more participation = more money = more unsubscribers. Unsubscribers likely wouldn’t have taken part.
2) Mailings. 2 mailings a year is probably too few. If you have less than 1000 donors, 4 would raise nearly twice as much. 8 however, would likely raise just three times as much and the extra effort may not be worth it.
A good comms program for a medium sized charity with 20,000 donors could be:
2 mail newsletters, 4 e-news letters, 4 main campaigns each of which has 2 mailings plus 6 emails, an annual survey (mail and email x 3) and a personalised annual donor care letter (mail to top 20%, email to rest)
That is 2+8+1+1=12 mailings and 4+24+3+1=32 planned emails.
Then, on top of that I would have some ‘unplanned’ emails. When something great happens – share it, when something bad happens – share it. Featured in the news? Let ’em know.
If you have fewer donors – reduce the numbers.
However, in EVERY communication make sure it is NOT ABOUT your charity. It is all about the donor and the beneficiary.