Build Your Best Mailing List for Nonprofit Fundraising

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With how crazy 2020 has been, it is more important than ever to get the most out of your direct mail fundraising and drive more donations to your nonprofit organization! While printing, mailing, and postage costs make direct mail more costly than email or other digital channels, the increase in your ROI will more than cover those costs if you send to the right prospects.

Your Mailing List Is Key

Your best list is that of your current donors. It’s critical to keep a clean list to avoid spending money on undeliverable or misdirected mail. In fact, the United States Postal Service (USPS) requires you to comply with their Move Update standard by updating your lists every 90 days. To keep your data clean and up-to-date, use the list hygiene tools that are available to you:

  • CASS Certified address validation and Delivery Point validation will provide you with only deliverable addresses.
  • Deceased Suppression will help you avoid sending to people who have passed away.
  • National Change of Address (NCOA) is for new addresses of people who have moved.
  • Dedupe helps you avoid sending multiple pieces to the same address.

Finding Prospective Donors

Now that you have a clean donor file, it is time to focus on prospects. Here are tips for finding good lists of prospective donors:

  1. Profile your donor list. Using targeting tools, identify prospects who closely resemble your best existing donors. The results can boost your direct response rate, increase your market penetration, and dramatically improve your fundraising ROI.
  2. Trade lists with other nonprofits. Make sure to code the lists when you send them out so that you know who responded from what list.
  3. Customize a list. You can customize a list to your specific cause and overlay demographic and psychographic intelligence onto your donor data.

Raffle Reminder

One important note when you are mailing raffle tickets: If you plan to mail raffle tickets for a fundraiser, you must meet requirements or the USPS could legally refuse to accept your mail. To avoid potential problems, the USPS requires that the ticket makes clear that no payment is required to enter a raffle. The following elements should appear on each ticket in a mailing:

  1. Use the wording “suggested donation” before the price of the ticket.
  2. Use the wording “no donation required to enter” or add a check box “Please enter my name in the drawing. I do not wish to make a donation at this time.”

How does direct mail fit in with your digital fundraising efforts? Learn how your charitable organization can blend online and offline marketing for maximum donor support in our on-demand BRAND United webinar, Where Mission Meets Marketing Magic.