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Neuroscience reveals why direct mail raises more money than digital.

Our clients (except Bernie Sanders, but that’s another story) find that direct mail fundraising outperforms digital fundraising by ten times or more. Why won’t donors respond to digital solicitations? Don’t they know it’s easier and less expensive to send an email than a letter? Guess what: consumers are no different. Check out the results of […]

In fundraising, direct mail still outperforms email. Here’s why.

Crickets—the sound you hear when you ask your team about returns on your email fundraising efforts. You’re not alone. We live in a digital age, but digital raises less than a tenth of the money that direct mail raises. Study Email Response Rate M+R/NTEN 2016 Benchmarks Study (fundraising) 0.08% DMA 2015 Response Rate Report (advertising) […]

How to design a donor-centric response card for annual appeal mailings

First, grab your donor’s attention. Attract the eye to the card with some spot color. Then, prime the donor’s brain with an affirmation, a donor benefit word, and a suggested gift amount. Use words like invest, protect, participate, gratitude—words that remind the donor why she is giving. When donors fill out the response card, it’s […]

Why this development director was blind to her declining retention rate – and what she’s doing about it now

Our client finally turned the corner after four consecutive years of decline. Revenue and number of donors both increased last year after hitting rock-bottom the year before. The development director was feeling optimistic. So what compelled her to write this memo the very day we delivered her Five Maples custom donor analytics report? The note […]

How Ben Franklin helped drive a 600% increase in a single e-mail appeal

I found something remarkable about what donors respond to this past December. And, it turns out, Ben Franklin figured this one out more than 250 years ago! The chart below shows how much was given in response to each of the seven year-end emails we wrote for Sustainable Harvest International. Promise of a match made […]

Want a successful fundraising year? Start with these planning basics.

Download Our Free Planning Template. Those organizations that really benefit from the year-end surge in giving don’t wait until they’re done with Thanksgiving dinner to start the process. No, they start working their plan in January and keep at it each and every month. They do it through a steady drumbeat of planned “touches” with […]

Above $1000: How to handle ask strings for major donors

We’ve previously shown how donors prefer round numbers. The pattern holds true for donations above $1,000. The following chart of 2509 donations above $1,000, compiled from annual fund results from multiple organizations, shows how much round numbers are preferred. Our Recommended Ask String Table uses these round numbers. Major donors have the biggest influence on […]

How to upgrade your response card to put monthly giving to work for your non-profit

Experienced annual fund managers say that when you convince donors to give using monthly credit card or bank drafts, their annual renewals are higher. Membership organizations agree with that. Personally, I’ve had one charitable bank draft going for 30 years…it takes initiative to cancel it, and you feel guilty if you do! There are many […]

Two powerful reasons why I’ll never stop giving to Compassion International and how those reasons could work for your non-profit

Compassion International provides monthly support to children to release them from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty. Compassion helps more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries. Thirty years ago my wife and I got a direct mail solicitation that was compelling enough to get us started with our first donation. And since then we’ve […]