A look at how BCG Connect and Friends of the Children-Boston go forward together

There is a famous African proverb that says, “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” Nonprofit organizations work to address some of the most pressing and complicated challenges of our time. Creating partnerships with trusted organizations and peers can help organizations go further and have a more lasting, sustainable impact.

One organization that exemplifies the concept of going further together is Friends of the Children – Boston (Friends-Boston). BCG Connect has partnered with Friends-Boston since 2016, collaborating on many projects including appeals, impact reports and other collateral, and events such as its annual Friend Raiser. Founded in 2004, Friends-Boston is one of the oldest affiliates of the National Friends of the Children organization. Friends-Boston creates generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors for 12+ years, no matter what. These youth, known as “Achievers” work with their mentors on core assets key to social and emotional development.

How Friends-Boston Makes an Impact

What makes Friends-Boston unique is its Two-Generation approach to strengthening families, creating a change that will be felt in the community for generations to come. Now in its 20th anniversary year, that impact is already being felt. Data collected shows that 98% of Achievers graduate to the next grade level and 100% have avoided incarceration. Additionally, 80% of alumni are either pursuing college degrees or have attained employment. Friends-Boston currently works with 144 of Boston’s most vulnerable children (along with 400+ of their siblings and caregivers) and is amid a five-year strategic growth plan that will expand its reach within the region and double the number of Achievers served.

Achievers displaying their artwork

The Important Role of Partnership

Creating such an impact cannot happen in a silo. Partnerships are at the core of the organization. As Jason Lang, Co-Founder of Doodle Consulting and key collaborator for Friends-Boston said in a recent conversation, “for Friends-Boston, partnerships are all about finding the people and organizations who share the vision of giving every child and family the resources and opportunities they need to achieve their goals.” Partnerships with community organizations and local businesses have opened doors for Achievers that might not have been available otherwise, for example, an internship opportunity at a board member’s former place of work. “True partnership”, Lang continued, “is finding people and organizations who not only share the mission and vision but who also want to walk together to be a part of the work in a big way.”

The relationship between BCG Connect with Friends-Boston developed organically out of a deep belief in the Friends-Boston mission, and an eagerness to help. Implementing programs, meeting with donors, and evaluating impact are all critical components of the work of a nonprofit professional. As are tasks like writing newsletters, creating email campaigns, and assembling appeals. With so many responsibilities, it can be challenging to accomplish everything, so BCG Connect works with its partners to take some of those tasks off their plates, so they can focus on other priorities.

According to Chris O’Keefe, a BCG Connect Account Manager, “we aim to be more than just another vendor; we take a more passionate approach.”  O’Keefe works closely with the Friends-Boston team throughout the year and has been involved in its projects since the beginning of the partnership. “We’re focused on creating personal connections. BCG Connect is an extension of your office. You have us as your back up”, he continues. “Accessibility is also key. With work that is constantly changing, being able to hop on a call or make a last-minute addition to a program can be critical. Ultimately, strong partnerships come down to building trust.”

An Achiever family and Friends-Boston Mentor.

Partnership Equals Trust

People play a big part in creating that trust, but so does an organization’s experience. BCG Connect is unique in that it focuses specifically on helping fundraising organizations improve their direct marketing programs. “Working alongside many nonprofits,” adds O’Keefe, “we have a 30,000-foot view of the sector and can bring that perspective to our partners. We really focus on getting to know them on a personal level and sharing our knowledge. That rapport deepens the sense of trust.”

It is that trust that leads to better collaboration and an overall work product you can be proud of. As Jason Lang reminded us: “When you’re in a creative process and you have the opportunity to collaborate, what you create together is so much better than what any one person could do. It makes a tremendous difference when you can find a partner who can take some of the weight off so you can focus on the bigger picture.”

Developing strong, trust-based partnerships enable organizations like Friends-Boston to focus more on their missions. Stacy DellOrfano, the Director of Development for Friends-Boston, added her support: “having that partnership, in every sense of the term, with BCG Connect has been amazing.  The team is so supportive in finding the best ways to communicate with our donors and community.  It’s more than the substantial services they provide to us at Friends-Boston, it’s the feeling that we are part of a team of people who care.  We could not ask for a better partner to share our story.”  BCG Connect is grateful to be a small part of the change that organizations like Friends-Boston make in their communities.

We have heard it all. And we think direct mail gets a bad rap. Long considered “junk mail” direct mail is seeing a new revival with the onslaught of emails sent to your inbox every day. That’s why we’re making the case with these 11 statistics.

There are articles out there stating why it’s making a resurgence. And then there are others, which support the idea that direct mail has a more lasting impression on donors than digital marketing.

Of course, we’re biased for mail, since that’s what we’ve done for 20 years. But since we’re also tasked with using digital mediums, email for instance, we thought we should make the case.

And it’s pretty convincing.

Here are 11 reasons you should consider direct mail marketing:

  1. 56% of donors think print marketing is the most trustworthy of all marketing channels.

  2. Donors spend an average of 30 minutes reading mail on any occasion.

  3. 70% of Americans say that mail is more personal than the internet.

  4. 73% of donors said they prefer direct mail for brand communications because they can read it at their convenience.

  5. Recipients read 56% of postcards, making them the most read mail pieces.

  6. 48% of people keep mail pieces for future reference.

  7. 79% of donors will act on a postcard immediately, compared to only 45% who say they deal with email immediately.

  8. 76% of Americans purchase because direct mail influenced them.

  9. Response rates still top those of other mediums; the average response rate is 1.1-1.4% compared to .03% for email, .04% for internet display and .22% for paid search.

  10. 56% of consumers say they have tried a new business after receiving a postcard or letter, while 70% have renewed previous relationships with businesses.

  11. 44% of people said they had visited a website after receiving postcards; 34% searched online.

Now, since your focus is on building your nonprofit donations, why wouldn’t you consider adding more touch points to your annual appeals?

We are passionate about direct mail. In fact, we’ve shared statistics frequently for you to use in defense of direct mail. Finally, we put together an infographic for you to highlight some key statistics.

Direct Mail Infographic

BCG Connect works with development and advancement offices in the education, nonprofit, and healthcare sectors. If you’re seeking direct marketing that reaches your donors in a timely, managed fashion, reach out to us today.

Ahh, the infamous question: self-mailers vs. letters for your next appeal?

Self Mailers vs Letters – Which is best for you?

Direct mail formats should be more strategic than just following personal preferences.

Meanwhile, it’s visible, it’s direct, and it gets noticed. The direct mail format is a key component of your direct mail campaign. It’s your physical link to your donors. One thing that has to be taken into consideration is the choice of format. Though you may have some idea of what type of layout to use, the best decision will depend on:

  • objectives
  • donor segments
  • your budget

Introduction: What is the difference between a self-mailer and a letter?

Let’s first look at the classic. Often considered formal communication, the letter develops a personal connection between the nonprofit and the donor. Then, there’s the self-mailer. Sometimes seen as an informal way of communicating, the self-mailer takes more creative liberties than the classic letter.

This all seems obvious, of course.

But what difference does it mean to the nonprofit looking for donations?

The Benefits of Using Self-Mailers

Self mailers are a great way for nonprofits to share imagery through stories and graphics. They are a low-cost and effective option.

But you know that already.

What are the benefits of self-mailers for nonprofits?

Sending a self-mailer to your donors has many benefits. You can highlight your annual report, tell donors about the most recent achievements of your nonprofit, share upcoming events and more. With variable printing and segmenting your data, you can even illustrate through imagery, as well as the text of each self-mailer.

A successful self-mailer is one that calls out the recipient by name within the headings. Adding other personal information, such as grad year, is another way of personalizing your self-mailer.

However, self-mailers are associated with retail companies.

So, could that be why some institutions and organizations swear by letters?

Engaging Vehicles for Letters

Envelopes are not just a container for letters. They are a vehicle for delivering an emotional connection to the letter, which is what makes them so engaging.

Envelope design can be an important part of a letter’s success. Designers have to consider how the recipient will handle the envelope and if they will open it.

Since an envelope is the first thing that people see when they receive a letter in their mailboxes, it’s often the only thing that people see before they open up the letter and read what is inside of it.

3 Reasons Nonprofits Use Letters over Self-Mailers

Letters allow you to show a sense of value and importance. Letter and envelope combinations have the room to tell your compelling story to your target audience about your nonprofit. Let’s take a closer look at why letters work:

  1. Tell your story with an interesting type of font that creates call-outs throughout your letter.

  2. Add a detachable reply card at the bottom of your letter. Simplify the steps a potential donor needs to take. Creating a process for donations will increase the chances of your target audience to donate.

  3. Add imagery. Take the same visual approach that a self-mailer uses by adding images and iconography to your letter.

Now what?

The Hybrid version with Letters and Self-Mailers

Many of our clients are using “self-mailers” in envelopes. I suppose it’s no longer a self-mailer, but you understand what I mean. This way, they get the benefits of both the letter and the “self-mailer” by using an envelope. So why is this becoming more popular?

In addition, it’s the best of both worlds. You now can include all the imagery you want, tell the story you want to tell, and add your business reply envelope.

Here’s an example of a folded card with a reply card, a reply envelope, and an outer envelope. While it’s not really a “self-mailer,” it uses all the elements a self-mailer would employ.

Self-mailers with letters and envelope

Conclusion: How to Choose which one is right for you

In short, if you’re questioning self-mailers vs. letters, and you have the budget, perform a test. Be sure to send to equal numbers of your letters vs. self-mailers. You don’t have to split your mail down the middle. Always use one targeted segment for the test. The remaining segments can use whichever version you prefer.

But, if you don’t have the budget to test, consider the hybrid model. At BCG Connect, we create multiple versions of direct mail pieces. From letters to self-mailers to the hybrid, we design, print, and mail them all. Reach out to use today!

That’s a bold statement: “empower your communications through data management.”

After all, data management is the process of organizing and structuring data in a way that it is easily searchable and useable.

While it isn’t always the most interesting task of an individual’s job, it is very important to format your data so that you have easy access to it. Although you use data management for any type of data, it’s mostly used for structured data.

One example of structured data would be donor information, such as names, addresses, and emails, as well as giving history. You can also use data management for unstructured data like videos or photos. But what does managing your data have to do with your communications?

Data Management Graph

In a 2019 survey, Everyaction and Nonprofit Hub found that 90% of their respondents collect data. However, only 5% said they are using the data. So you’re collecting all this data. What can you do with it?

How to Affect Fundraising Communications with Data Management

How you manage your data affects your fundraising in a variety of ways. The data you collect helps to design strategies and, ultimately, communications.

Your data management strategy is the key to a successful nonprofit communications strategy. Each nonprofit should have a data strategy in place to make sure that they are collecting the right data and using it effectively to reach their goals. In order to reach your goals, you need to manage all the aspects of your data.

More and more nonprofit organizations recognize the importance of managing their data. They realize this critical information provides an opportunity for them to innovate and improve upon their communications. In addition, nonprofits can use data to create a better donor experience, potentially increasing donations.

This isn’t just about keeping track of the data, it also includes knowing how to use it.

What data do you need to collect in order to be successful?

There are many ways to collect, analyze and act on data that are relevant for your communications.

Before you can manage your data, you need to collect it. Using social media, direct mail, or landing pages is a great start.

What Types of Data Should You Collect?

Data collection is the first step in any data management process. To collect data, you need to know what information you want, where to find it and how to organize it. Once you collect that information, you can use it to track trends and, of course, for your communications.

Some data that you should collect and manage for your nonprofit communications are:

    • Demographic data (gender, age, ethnicity)

    • Geographic data (state, region)

    • Behavioral data (online behavior, engagement with social media)

    • Transaction data (donations, memberships)

    • Interest data (clubs, sports teams, participation at events)

How To Use Your Collected Data

Now you can use your data for a variety of purposes. Data is the one asset that you can use to maximize your marketing efforts. To put your data into action, you can use it for direct mail, email, digital ads, or web design.

Direct mail: Direct mail takes your provided data using variable printing. It goes way beyond personalization. All of that demographic, geographic, behavioural, transactional, and interest data can now intertwine throughout the copy and imagery.

Email: You can send trigger emails based on behavioural data. This is an efficient way to reach out to your donors while you are top of mind. Tease your donors with a story via email and drive your donors to your donation page or your website.

Digital ads: Digital ads are an excellent way of reaching out to people who are on the go and have their attention focused on their phones or tablets. You can use them to target previous visitors from your website or your social media. You can even serve up ads to your direct mail list!

Website: You can personalize your website based on the data you collect from your donors and the content they are interested in. This will help make sure that your website stays relevant to them and that you continue to engage them with the content they want.

Conclusion: Time to Power Up Your Communications

The data that you collect from your donors is critical to the growth of your organization. You can increase donations, manage the donor relationship, and create a more personalized experience for them. Developing a strategy around your data management only enhances your communications.

At BCG Connect, we protect your data and use it to provide more effective marketing campaigns. We have several ways to use your data into the creative, copy, and visual elements. If you’d like to know more about how we can help turn your data into powerful communications, get in touch with us.

Maybe a list of direct mail statistics is all you’re looking for. But wouldn’t it help to have the reasoning behind the statistics, too?

First, direct mail marketing is an old school marketing technique that has been around for decades and it is still one of the most effective ways to reach out to your donors.

So why are you still having to defend the use of direct mail to your director or board? Below, we’ve listed the top 5 direct mail statistics that will support your direct marketing strategy for your nonprofit.

Direct Mail Statistics InfographicStatistics That Defend The Need For Direct Mail

1. 42.2% of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they get.

The primary goal of direct mail is to get the recipient’s attention and convince them they are the hero of the story – impacting your organization with their gift. This type of communication is simply too powerful to ignore. How you approach the content depends on telling a compelling story through pictures and words.

2. Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than email.

As a physical object, direct mail allows the person to interact with the mail in order to read the message. It elicits a 20% motivation to respond. Our attention is far more in tune with direct mail than an email.

3. Donors are 3X more likely to give online in response to a direct mail appeal than an email, according to MobileCause.

While email is a viable communication tactic for nonprofits, it’s the mighty direct mail piece that enables action. Research shows that when you combine direct mail with email communications, the response rate is 25% higher.

4. 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want.

The way you communicate with your donors has changed, and so has the way they want to be communicated with. This is because donors have more demands on them and are busy than ever before. A direct mail piece provides a break from the digital world that inundates them.

5. Up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails.

Direct mail is an effective marketing channel that has a higher response rate than email.

A study by the Direct Marketing Association found that the average response rate for direct mail is around 3.35%, whereas email’s average response rate is only 0.1%.

Here To Stay

There are many people in the US who enjoy checking the mailbox. In fact, four in ten Americans of all 20 and over enjoy this activity. Not only do we look forward to receiving a piece of mail, but we hold on to it for a long time. In an average household, we usually discard mail after 17 days.

Therefore, direct mail marketing is alive and well! With so many digital channels competing for attention, direct mail is a smart way to get your message across.  We live in a digital world, but that doesn’t mean there is any less demand for physical products. As the amount of spam mail and junk posts has increased, we have encountered a huge rise in paper mail!

A Greater Sense of Urgency

Donors prefer reading direct mail because it’s more personal and supports the relationship between you and the donor.

Ok, here are some more statistics that support direct mail.

Based on USPS research, 55% of people said they “look forward” to opening their mailbox, and 56% stated that they find receiving and reading mail enjoyable.

People who see print marketing are more likely to trust it than other channels. This is because of print’s high credibility rate: 56% of customers find it to be the most trustworthy type of communication. Trust is important to consider when you ask donors to contribute to your organization or institution.

Direct mail is more cost-effective than other methods, because it enables you to personalize your appeal. Direct mail also drives higher response rates and is a lot more fun!

Could a more creative approach to personalized direct mail improve your organization’s fundraising programs?  Click here to start the conversation about how we might be able to help.

Designing a direct mail appeal is a tricky process. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of design options and end up with something that doesn’t quite fit your needs. So how do you decide what to include? In this article, we’ll walk you through all the different appeal design components that go into designing your direct mail appeal.

The Direct Mail Piece Is a Piece of Art

First, a direct mail piece appeal is an investment in your nonprofit or school. It’s designed to convert inquiry into action and spark first impressions. The success of your appeal depends on the design as much as it does on the content and copywriting.

Designers use color, imagery, fonts, and graphics to create an emotional response. When you send a direct mail piece, there are a few important appeal design options to consider:

  • The purpose of the mailing is clear through the images and headings. Draw the eye throughout the piece to tell the story even if skimmed through.

  • The design should create an emotional response that resonates with the potential donor. This is true for direct mail pieces because they have such a long life.

  • The genetic make-up of what’s included in your direct mail piece can influence or turn away your donors. Are you sending a letter with a buck slip and reply card? Are you including a premium in your mailer?

How to Fit All that Information

Designing a direct mail appeal is not just about creating an aesthetically pleasing piece. It is about creating an information heavy piece that requires careful attention from the designer. It is important to have a balance of images, icons, and headings to create a clean and organized design.

With the rise in popularity of infographics as marketing tools, nonprofits are using them more often in their appeals. Creative designers see an opportunity to use these graphic visuals. These add value and help readers understand complex topics or information.

Icons provide a significant amount of instant recognition for appeal design options. Icons are often used to represent various data points in different ways. For example, in the image, you can visualize the point that the appeal is trying to make. The next time you see an icon, take a moment and think about what it might mean.

Hopkins School Infographics

Choosing the Right Appeal Format

All the appeal design options now lead you to determine the format. The type of format that you choose for your direct mailer should depend on:

  • your budget,
  • the message you are trying to convey,
  • and the desired reach.

For a more personal message, the letter format is best. However, it can be an expensive option. This makes postcard or self-mailers formats more suitable for a less expensive choice.

In addition, when considering a letter format, it offers a personalized message that is printed on high-quality paper with an envelope. A letter provides a more personalized piece to the donor. It is best used when you have time to write an engaging letter.

Self-mailers are a great way for nonprofits to create interaction between recipients and their mission. We typically use these mailers as an extension of a campaign, providing information about the overall goal. Including a donation form perforated on the bottom makes it easier for the donor to return.

Postcards are a less expensive alternative to a self-mailer because it requires less copy. However, the postcard needs to show impact through a firm base of imagery. Our clients use the postcard for alumni events, fiscal year-end reminders, and save the date for giving days.

Incorporating White Space in Your Design

Now that you’ve chosen your format, content, graphics, imagery, reply card, etc., it’s important not to crowd your appeal. White space is the empty area between the distinct elements of your design.

This design element is the empty area between the distinct elements of your design. It’s an artful way to use design to create a visual separation of your content. The lack of overcrowding in content allows for readers to focus on what you’re trying to say.

Using white space is crucial for sending out a postcard or other type of direct mail. Cutting back on clutter and having some blank space gives the reader a chance to consume what they’re reading. Including a minimal amount of white space will make it easy for your target audience to navigate through the message and head straight to your ask. Keep it simple!

What to Do with All These Appeal Design Options

A strategically and creatively designed appeal will give you the best chance of standing out in the mail. Separate yourself from the dozens of other companies who are also vying for the attention of your constituents. Being able to rise above the crowd with high-quality and intentional direct mail designs, stellar copy, and personalization throughout your mailers will position you and your nonprofit for success.

Need help with the design of your next appeal? We have graphic designers on staff who specialize in delivering a well-designed appeal. Designing nonprofit mail is just one of the many services we offer. Let us know if we can help you with any of your marketing needs.

If you ever thought they restricted the USPS only to your mailbox, you’re in for a surprise. Meet Informed Delivery. It’s a free service that uses machine learning to deliver small snippets of actual mail inside your inbox. You get the digital version before the actual version of mail.

What’s even better is that with success from past campaigns, USPS created the 2022 Promotions Calendar for nonprofits, marketers, printers and mailers that includes this digital mailer view.

Introduction: What is Informed Delivery and How Does it Work?

USPS first launched Informed Delivery, a mail tracking service in 2014, to a small contingent of residences. In 2017, the service promoted availability to the entire US. And now this is becoming a niche service as each year goes by because of the unique blend of reaching people through multiple channels.

For example, Informed Delivery provides digital previews of your mail to eligible residential and PO Box holders. The Informed Delivery solution lets nonprofit mailers create mail and digital marketing campaigns that are fully optimized for the recipient.

Besides getting more impressions, interactions, and insights, nonprofits also can deliver timely content. Therefore, it’s used for time-sensitive notifications to donors like fiscal or calendar year end.

Above all, its subscribers continue to grow each year, and are over 44 million strong.

What are the Advantages for Nonprofits?

Our clients include Informed Delivery for their appeals to drive additional interest and a digital touch. We include a full color advertisement (ride-along), as well as a link to their donor landing page. Clients like the price tag as well. It’s free from the USPS.

Babson Informed Delivery through BCG Connect

So, the great thing is that nonprofit mailers can engage their donor base through the interactive features of Informed Delivery in 2022. Moreover, they are eligible for discounted rates.

USPS Informed Delivery Promotion for 2022

Each year, the United States Post Office offers promotions and incentives for nonprofits to use their services. This includes reduced rates and discounts. The USPS has several services that help nonprofits send mail at a reduced cost and make more money for their charity.

This year, they offer a 4% discount for nonprofit organizations that use Informed Delivery. Most importantly, this discount is available to all nonprofit organizations regardless of their purpose. This includes churches and charities, as well as other non-profit groups.

The Informed Delivery promotion runs August 1st – December 31st. Nonprofits can register as early as June 15th, 2022 for the promotion.

Understanding the Informed Delivery Process

Finally, if you’re curious how the Informed Delivery program works, contact us and we’ll help add it to your next mailer you do with us. Let us develop your next appeal creative for you. We’ll create the design and handle the communication with the Post Office to ensure they execute your campaign correctly and timely. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.

Digital media plays a key role for fundraisers in targeting their donors. For example, integrating social posts along with email, they can hit donors multiple times on different platforms. But don’t stop your direct mail campaign!

Direct mail also continues to evolve with emerging technologies. In this post, we share the importance of integrating your digital media with direct mail, and we highlight 7 ways you can actually add digital media to your direct mail.

The Importance of Digital Media in your Direct Mail Marketing Strategy

Using digital media in direct mail marketing has increased drastically over the past few years. Today, the online world and offline world are converging. You can see the effect it has had on fundraising, for example, where donors are using online from offline sources to donate.

Direct mail marketing is a type of advertising that includes directly delivering your appeals to your constituents via postal service. To be effective, it must include some element of personalization and relevancy to the donor or else it is ineffective. People enjoy feeling important. 70% of consumers say that direct mail makes them feel more valued.

The Convergence of Direct Mail and Digital Media

The key is to combine your digital marketing and direct mail efforts to boost your overall results. The two are powerful ingredients for marketing as individual efforts, but together — you get incredible results. Research shows that combining digital and direct mail efforts can increase response rates. A study mentioned by Philanthropy Today found:

  1. If someone’s getting both mail and email from you, they’re more likely to open your letters! Donors who received mail-plus-email show a 60.5% lift in response rates over those who just got mailed.

  2. Donors who received only an email had a 90.6% lower response rate to the mail than donors who only received the mail itself. The email-only group had just a 1.4% response rate.

  3. People who received both direct mail and digital media were also more likely to give online too. Clearly, the worst option was to send people only email.

  4. Another study shows that those who receive emails along with direct mail give 25% more annually.

Our 4 P’s of Direct Mail Marketing

There are four “P’s” in marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. However, in the fundraising world, we created these 4 P’s of direct mail marketing:

  • Personalization – Personalized appeals to constituents are more likely to be remembered and acted upon.

  • Photos – Adding photos and imagery creates an emotional connection for the donor.

  • Planning – Placing your digital ads ahead of your direct mail will help bridge the two channels.

  • Presentation – Your direct mail piece needs to reflect the ask. From postcards to letters to self-mailers, your appeal should include your story, your call to action, and your goal.

Developing a successful direct mail appeal, along with digital media, should embody the same design, so it is clearly part of an overall campaign.

Including the same design and creative elements on direct mail, email, social media, digital ads, and the landing page provides the donor a connection to the overall campaign.

The Role of Digital Media in Modern Direct Mail Strategies

Most fundraisers know about the importance of engaging constituents through their digital channels – whether it’s through social media, email, or mobile applications. The digital landscape has changed how we communicate with people and how people communicate with us. Digital media has evolved how we do fundraising campaigns, specifically direct mail.

Here are seven ways to integrate digital media with direct mail.

  1. QR Codes – Placing a branded QR code as a call to action on your appeal allows the donor to go from the physical to the digital world in a couple of clicks.

  2. Video – Sounds crazy, but when you add either a URL or a QR Code to your mailer, you direct your donors to a video and continue to tell the story of your nonprofit in a more visually compelling way.

  3. Landing Pages – Include the landing page URL in the main body of your letter. Don’t be afraid to include the URL in multiple locations on your appeal. From the letter to a buck slip to the reply card, guide the donor to your landing page.

  4. VACTA – Voice Activated Call to Action is the latest technology to hit the consumer market. Now it’s fundraisers turn to take advantage of this platform. Add a call to action in your appeal that uses Alexa’s Donate to Charity feature or Google’s simple phrase “Hey Google, donate to a charity” to accept donations.

  5. Informed Delivery – Over 44 million people have signed up for Informed Delivery. This is the USPS digital mail and package delivery online preview. Nonprofits can include a free ad to ride along with the digitized mail.

  6. Social Media – Remember to add your social media icons to your direct mail when you’re creating a multichannel approach.

  7. Text – Text to give is a convenient method for donors to send their contributions via text. The process is seamless and takes a few minutes. Adding your text number to your direct mail gives your donors another way of donating to your cause.

The increasing developments in digital media are changing direct mail marketing as we know it. Direct mail once meant appeals delivered through “snail-mail” but now includes targeted messages to your donor base while they are browsing their social channels on their computer or phone.

Conclusion: How to adjust your strategy for your next campaign

Assess your current direct mail marketing strategy. Identify and apply modern digital strategies, as mentioned above. Employ our 4Ps model of direct mail marketing as the base of your appeals. Fundraising efforts should consider all channels, as every channel has the potential for success when used in tandem with one another.

In conclusion:

Fundraisers have been using digital media for a long time. With the continuous advances in technology and new communication channels, direct mail is also adapting to these changes. We believe that the convergence of traditional and modern marketing strategies is what will make you more successful in this fast-paced world.

If you’re ready for a direct marketing partner who provides marketing solutions for your next fundraising campaign, contact us today.

What exactly are QR Codes? How do they work and what’s the best way to use them?

QR codes are a type of barcode that a smartphone can scan. They are used to store information and links in the form of text, images, or videos. This makes them an efficient way to communicate with your donors and provide them with more information about your appeal or drive them directly to a specific site.

QR codes are most commonly used in marketing because they allow you to promote your institution in different ways. As a fundraiser, you can use QR codes on your website, social media profiles, posters and banners at events, but most of all, they work great with direct mail.

How to Use Direct Mail to Increase Your Donations

One good thing to note is that direct mail is certainly not dead, and it can be a powerful tool for increasing donations with the help of digital channels.

It continues to be the foundation for nonprofits to reach out to potential donors who are not on their email list or who prefer to give by mail.

While there are several types of direct mail, you can enhance your mailer with various elements:

  • Add the invoice-style “Ugly Betty” to your appeal

  • Include personalization in your letter through variable data printing

  • Create an infographic to highlight institution achievements to date

  • Use a tagline or call-out on the outside of your envelope

  • Employ a QR code to drive donors directly to your donations page

We’ve found that QR codes can help increase donations on your next appeal, but it’s important to follow three simple rules.

3 Proven Tactics to Increase QR Code Engagement

One of the most important functions of QR codes is to provide links to your digital assets. When someone scans your QR code, they can visit your donation page or interact with an app. To take this experience to the next level, try these three tactics:

1. Clearly explain what will happen when they use the QR Code in your direct mail piece. Where it will take them, or what they are expecting to see.

2. Provide a URL beside the QR Code for those wishing to go directly to the page without using the code.

3. Make sure your code is large enough for the donor to see.

To sum it up, QR codes are the link between the digital and physical worlds. If you are unfamiliar with how to get a QR Code, we recommend QR Code Generator, or ask us to add one to your next appeal for you.

Our clients have found QR Codes are a direct channel to their donation page for capital campaigns, spring and fall appeals, and on postcard reminders for fiscal year end. If you’re interested in adding a QR Code to your next appeal, contact us today.

Watching those expensive TV commercials from the ASPCA or Save the Children, you immediately connect to their story. They compel viewers into action because of the imagery, music and voiceover. Now, imagine if you could integrate video into your next campaign, but using direct mail marketing to connect donors to your message.

What is Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mail marketing is advertising that involves sending a direct mail piece to a potential donor. It is one of the oldest and most effective marketing channels, especially for fundraisers.

With the help of direct mail marketing, fundraisers can target their constituents or prospective donors more accurately and send them personalized messages.

Direct Mail is an Effective Marketing Channel

As a marketing channel that has been around for years, direct mail continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach your donors.

Direct mail marketing sends your appeal to prospective donors, parents of students, or your alumni. The goal is to create a one-to-one relationship through your story to get them to donate.

The advantages of direct mail over other forms of marketing include:

  • High Open Rates – A direct mail campaign can supply as high as 90% open rate. Compare that to email, which averages 15% – 20% for a successful campaign.
  • Personalization – Your data allows you to personalize each direct mail piece based on donor information through variable data printing.
  • Control – Segmentation allows you to control the narrative on a personal level, so your piece creates more engagement for the reader.

How Digital Media Has Changed the Face of Direct Mail Marketing Forever

Today, digital media has changed the way we think about direct mail marketing. Together with direct mail, digital media helps drive more engagement with donors. From landing pages to social media to email marketing, digital media is the perfect partner for direct mail.

The increase use of digital media has made it possible for fundraisers to personalize messaging to their donors both online and offline. The benefit of using both direct mail and digital media together creates a personalized experience for the donor.

Adding a video element to your direct mail only enhances the overall experience.

How to Create a Successful Direct Mail Campaign with Video

Video is an effective way of sharing your nonprofit’s or institution’s story in the digital age, without the expense of a highly produced commercial. Anyone can produce a short video that can make an impact with video and editing capabilities on phones. Most iPhones come with iMovie, or you can find apps like Quik, a free app by the GoPro company.

So how do you integrate video into direct mail for your next appeal?

Adding a QR Code onto your direct mail piece will guide your constituents to open your video message with their phone. The remarkable thing about QR Codes is that the camera reads them on your phone and at once takes the user to your video. At BCG Connect, our designers highlight the code in a distinct color, and add a call to action to help it stand out.

With the increased use of video in social media, this is the perfect time to drive more people to your videos. Your video should be engaging and relevant to your donor. When creating a successful direct mail appeal with video, keep these things in mind:

  • Create a video that is a continuation of the story from the direct mail piece
  • Use emotional elements that tie the donor to the story
  • Keep it short,:30 seconds is the maximum you should use
  • Include your ask in your video

Conclusion and Future Trends in Direct Mail Marketing

While direct mail marketing is a powerful tool that can increase donor engagement, adding a digital element to your appeal will certainly give your campaign a lift. The future of direct mail campaigns will be based on several trends we recently uncovered.

Continuing to integrate your direct mail with digital media is the key to reaching more constituents both online and offline. So, whether you are using digital channels like email or social media, direct mail makes the perfect foundation for your campaign.

The BCG Connect team offers guidance and best practices in implementing digital media to your direct mail when you are planning your next appeal. Reach out to us today.