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The icing on your appeals program
publication date: May 20, 2014
author/source: Jonathon Grapsas
We’re in the silly season in Australia right now.
It’s the lead up to the end of the financial year (June 30), which means two things for fundraisers: getting their budgets approved for next year while simultaneously running their largest, or second largest (for some it’s Christmas) appeal of the year.
I’m no Nostradamus, but I do know these two things happen every single year. Which is why the lack of planning some fundraisers undertake staggers me, furiously running around just weeks and even days before their biggest appeal should land in mailboxes.
Part of me thinks for many it’s a reflection of the boredom and staleness of their appeals/direct mail program. It’s like that old ornament sitting on your mantelpiece—it’s been there forever and does a job, but it doesn’t particularly excite you.
Adding excitement to your appeals
Your appeals program should excite you. And it’s time to stop thinking of your next mailing as part of the furniture.
We’re quite uniquely placed as an agency, wedged right between the old and the new. We spend half of our time developing direct mail programs and the other half in the digital world.
When it comes to warm/house appeals, our job is simple. Ensure we develop the best direct mail piece, laced with all of the elements we have spent years testing to maximize income. And then support with digital.
That means a well-crafted letter that is story driven—reinforced with several lift pieces that are as authentic and real as possible. We want the pack to look and feel as if it’s been cobbled together by the CEOs themselves.
Add to that the usual suspects—a reminder mailing complete with a full-page response form and an intriguing envelope. By intriguing I mean plain (i.e. white, yellow or brown). It stands out because it looks like a personal piece of mail.
That’s the bread and butter. We know this stuff works. But how do we get that extra boost of income? In other words, the additional 10-15 per cent that is the icing on your appeal and helps ensure that (along with a brilliant mailing) you’ll make more net income than last year.
Here’s a list of ideas to top up your next appeal.
You shouldn’t accept that your appeal is a mailing, maybe with a reminder, that goes out the same way year on year.
The above are a sprinkling of ideas to ice your next appeal. It’s certainly not a fully exhaustive list and you should mix them up with a follow-up phone call, a mobile-optimised website, and all of the other trimmings that we know we should be doing.
Do the little things, and do them well, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t deliver 10-15 per cent more net income than you did last year. Go on, try it.
Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at flat earth direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world focused on digital, direct response and campaign tactics.
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