Pop Art Woman Announcement Megaphone

VIDEO: 6 Big Tips for Big Campaigns

Want to make an important direct mail campaign stronger?

Sean and I have six big tips that can really super-charge response:

  1. Mail in a stand-out envelope — bigger, more colourful, not the usual!
  2. Use a matching gift offer.
  3. Enhance the pack in as many ways as possible: Longer letter, bigger reply device, as many lift pieces as you can think of!
  4. Call your donors before they get the mail — or after.
  5. Use email and mail together, make it into an “event.”
  6. Repetition! Send several emails. Send a follow-up direct mail. Maybe even send the original pack again!

Want to learn more about what really works in direct mail? Uncover all of the amazing best practices of direct mail fundraising in our course 7 Steps To Creating Record-Smashing Direct Mail. It’s available for all members of The Fundraisingology Lab.

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Pop Art Magician e1535425931329

How to Bulk Up Response to Any Fundraising Ask with Matching Funds

I don’t throw around terms like “magic” lightly, because there’s no such thing.

But matching funds come close to magic.

A match offer can cut through the clutter and encourage more donors to give. In fact, in my experience, a well-built match offer can bring in 10% to 50% more revenue than a similar message without a match.

And it does so by increasing response rates without depressing average gift. In fact, average gifts sometimes increase with match offers.

See why I’m almost willing to call it magic?

What is a match offer?

It’s a simple promise made to donors: Send us a donation, and we’ll double it. (Or more — a bit on that shortly!)

That doubling money can come from many different sources:

  • Your board (it’s a great way to get the board involved in fundraising).
  • A major donor (or several major donors pooled into a single fund).
  • Foundation, corporate, or government sources.

All the matcher has to do is agree to have you say their gift will “match” the donations of other donors. Sometimes that depends on some total amount being raised like Your gift will be matched if we raise a total of at least $25,000. More often there’s no minimum to raise, but instead a maximum: Your gift will be matched until we raise a total of $25,000. Both ways add urgency to the message. The donor either needs to act quickly to help raise enough or to make sure their gift gets matched.

Matches also often have a time deadline connected to them: Your gift will be matched if you give by December 31.

The most important element of a match offer is the multiplier. That is the ratio that the donors’ contributions will be matched. Most often, it’s 1:1, meaning the gift is doubled. But it can be more than that — the gift can be tripled, quadrupled, even multiplied by 10, 20, 50 times, or more. And here’s the surprising thing: the greater the multiplier, the stronger the response. So if you can swing a 2:1 match (“Your gift will be tripled by matching funds!”) do so!

If you can’t make that work, don’t let that discourage you. Do a match anyway.

The only multiplier that doesn’t work so well is when the donor’s gift is less than doubled: Every $1 you give will become $1.25. That doesn’t have the magic!

How to Execute Your Match Fundraising

There are a few best-practice approaches that really make the most of a match offer.

Outer envelope (or subject line)

Trumpet the match. That’s all you need to do. Use language like this:

  • Matching Funds will double your donation
  • Every $1 will become $2 (or, Every $50 will become $100)
  • Your Gift DOUBLED by matching funds
  • $1 = $2

Most of the time, “giving away” your fundraising offer on an outer envelope or subject line is a bad tactic that suppresses response. Not in this case!

Reply device (or landing page)

It’s important that you use this real estate to demonstrate the multiplying power of the match and how it increases the donor’s giving. Here’s how a typical gift array on a match reply might look:

  • [ ] $25 to become $50 with matching funds
  • [ ] $50 to become $100 with matching funds
  • [ ] $75 to become $150 with matching funds

Do that math for the donor. Even when it’s super-easy math!


Clarity, simplicity, repetition, and urgency are the keys, as they are in all fundraising. But with a match, your messaging should be almost entirely about the match.

Of course, you’re still raising the money to do something specific. Your call to action should be something like this:

  • Feed twice as many hungry children!
  • Double my gift to feed the children!
  • Match my hunger-fighting gift!

Here are some more phrases you can use in match fundraising:

  • Every dollar you give — up to a total of $100,000 — will be matched.
  • Your gift will be doubled by matching funds until March 15!
  • Your gift will help twice as many children!
  • Every dollar you give will become $2 worth of lifesaving help!

An easy (and common) mistake to make is using language that seems not to say the donor’s gift will be doubled, but that you’re asking the donor to give twice as much. Like: Double your gift today.

That obsessive focus on the match might strike you as simplistic and uninteresting. Let me assure you — it works.

Here’s the other thing about match fundraising: You make the match the story. Instead of the standard story about a problem or opportunity you want the donor’s help to solve when the offer is a match, you tell the exciting story about how the donor’s gift will make a bigger difference solving the problem or seizing the opportunity. It’s the story of a smart, compassionate donor who takes action at the right time and the right way to have maximum impact.

I’ve seen two easy-to-make errors that can make a match offer far less effective:

  1. Fail to make it 100% clear that the donor’s gift is multiplied.
    This sometimes happens when a fundraiser overthinks the match. From the fundraiser’s point of view, you aren’t getting twice the revenue, so you may feel there’s something bogus about the “doubling” language. But to the donor, the match means twice as much good happens. Smart fundraisers always speak into their donors’ reality. Not their own.
  2. Offer a multiplier that’s less than two.
    If you have a match ratio of less than one-to-one (doubling the donor’s gift) — such as 1:0.5, or “Every dollar you give will become $1.50” — you will not get the full power of a match.

We know from commercial marketing the power of a “good deal.” Everyone loves a bargain. A match is a bargain for donors.

That’s why it’s such a powerful tool in fundraising.

PS: Ready for more on-the-ground advice like this to help you raise more money through the mail? Take my online course, 7 Steps To Creating Record-Smashing Direct Mail (Without spending more time or money)! You can access this and more as a member of The Fundraisingology Lab. Members also get access to my special Matched Giving Magic workshop that walks you through the steps you need to create your own matched giving appeal. See you there!

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Christmas appeal
Direct Mail

VIDEO: How to Plan Your Christmas Appeal in Advance for Maximum Impact

It’s Christmas in August here at Moceanic, and Sean has a plan for meaningfully improving your Christmas/Holiday/Year-End campaigns.

Starting NOW.

This very short video will give you a framework that will not only improve your results during the critical last few weeks of 2018 but save you time by starting now.

Want help with your direct mail as we approach the fruitful last quarter of the year? Check out Jeff Brooks’ course 7 Steps To Creating Record-Smashing Direct Mail (Without spending more time or money!) It’s available when you join The Fundraisingology Lab.

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A Great Way to Boost Donations in Your Next Appeal
Direct MailMajor and Mid Value Donors

A Great Way to Boost Donations in Your Next Appeal…

…And Build Awesome Relationships With Major Donors

I have a little story about Jason Smith, a quiet and unassuming Quebecois guy living in Melbourne, Australia.  In 2016 he worked as the fundraising manager at Burnet Institute.

The Institute is a charity dedicated to researching diseases that cause harm to people in less developed countries.  It is one of my favourite charities, partly because Jason works there and is an easy guy to get behind and support, but also because of it’s unique mission.

However, the Institute’s fundraising is relatively small with a database of just around 7,000 people who donated in the past year or so.

For their mid-year appeal, Jason and his colleague Asther Creo ran a classic direct mail appeal to their donors.

Shortly after the appeal had been mailed Jason met with a ‘mid value’ donor – someone who had, with their partner, donated $4,000 in 2015.  I’ll call the donor Bernadette because of it kind of works with the charity name.

Bernadette told him she was keen on ‘stretching’ her (and her partner’s) donation to have more impact.  So Jason and Bernadette agreed that a special communication would go out to donors.

The message was simple ‘One of our supporters has offered to match your gift up to $50,000.’

With time short, the campaign was run as part of the second ‘wave’ of mid-year appeal.  Basically , follow up letter to the original appeal.

Jason told me; “the matched gift offer boosted results and the campaign raised an extraordinary $326,000 (including the $50,000 donation).  About $150,000 came in after we went out with the offer – it definitely got a lot of traction out there.”

Although the matched offer would have done better as a letter earlier, this is still a great study of delivering what a mid value donor wanted – and lifting them into the major donor zone.

Because Jason is so nice he is also happy for me to share the full copy of the direct mail letter, second wave/reminder (with the matched gift ask) and response coupon.

Just click here for the PDF in un-merged format, showing you all those personalisations.

If you are struggling to find an offer for your mid value donors, but want to try and lift them up then this is always something available to you, and very attractive to many donors.

Want to know more about how you can dramatically increase revenue and transform relationships with your mid and major donors? I cover this important topic in my Mid-Value Donor Super Course. You can find out more in The Fundraisingology Lab

BurnetInstituteDM SeanTriner

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