Second Half of the Year: Staying within Budget

Staying within Budget

It’s a good time to look back at what happened in the first half of the year. And now it’s time to think about your campaign budget for the second half. If you’re in education, then you’re likely planning your 2023 fiscal year. With donor appeals and volunteer events, costs can quickly add up and nonprofits can struggle to stay within budget.

Staying within Budget for Nonprofits

It’s important to have a strategy in place so you’re able to spread the message of your nonprofit effectively. Here are the top 5 ways for nonprofits to save on postage and increase engagement!

#1: Combine Digital with Mail for Increased Engagements and Improved ROI

Two questions nonprofits can ask themselves are: Who is my audience and how can I reach them? Which of your contact lists are usually from your own mailing list, and which ones come from other sources?

We see many clients using omnichannel marketing (marketing through various channels) these days and if you think it can do something for your organization, we’ve got some excellent tips to get you started. For instance, it not only improves engagement response rates, but can also help considerably with savings on postage and staying within budget.

You use your first-party data year after year and, notably; it comprises previous donors, volunteers, parents, and alumni. Contacts involved with your organization for a while are aware of the mission and values you uphold. After donating to your mission, they feel invested in your success. This is a significant group for communicating through various channels.

On average, direct mail sent to your data list will generate a 5-15% response rate – or about 1 prospect for every 15 pieces of mail. Adding an extra channel could increase your reach by 26%-40%.

Nonprofits should consider building their social media follower base as a first step towards establishing an email contact database of interested individuals. If you’re a nonprofit, email may be something to consider. Data shows people are still using the channel, but have become less engaged in the last few years. If you want to reach a targeted audience organically, prepare an appropriate paid advertising strategy.

#2: Postage Optimization

To support non-profits, the US Postal Service offers Marketing Mail prices for eligible organizations. Non-profit shipments sent via USPS Marketing Mail can be up to 60% cheaper than First Class Mail.

For example, a non-profit organization could reduce its postage costs from $0.291 per piece to as low as $0.173. With the postage cost, a nonprofit could save $11,800 for direct mail campaigns running at 100,000 pieces of mail. If you are looking to make bigger savings, you can also use our internal creative team to save further on mailing, designing, and printing postcards and letters.

#3: Clean Up Data and Reduce Returned Mail

As you go on to the back half of the year, it is a good time to make sure you organize your data and get it in order before your next mailing.

As a result, you need to rectify and take the necessary precautions. A good data cleanup should identify and correct fields with potential errors. Splitting up a field containing first name and last name into separate fields for “FirstName” and “LastName”, finding incorrect grammar, untypical abbreviations – these are all standard tasks for data cleanup.

If you have a data cleanup, it can save you money from returned mail. It’s estimated that around 8% of undeliverable mail is due to incorrect addresses, which waste a lot of postage in the process. The problem needs to be fixed ASAP, so it doesn’t continue costing more money. Data cleanup is an essential step in managing mailing solutions. It will help ensure all addresses are spelled correctly, increase the likelihood of outgoing mail being delivered and decrease the amount of unreturned mail.

#4: Analyze Lists to Better Target the Right Donors and Volunteers

There are two main types of lists for nonprofits:

-Donor lists: These lists include the contact information for people or businesses that have donated money, goods or services to a cause.

-Volunteer lists: These lists include the contact information for people who have volunteered their time and skills to help with a cause.

You should analyze these lists in order to better understand the needs and wants of the individuals on them so that you can better target your message or campaign materials at them.

Nonprofits can save a lot of time and effort by first figuring out who their relevant contacts are. By sending appeals to the right people, you can increase the impact of your campaigns. Instead of blindly sending to the same data list this year, consider running a few analyses that will determine who the best donors and volunteers are.

Similar to other businesses, nonprofits may have contacts in their database who have too few details to be contacted for communication purposes. Often times volunteers skipped the necessary fields. Data appends let you access external sources for contact information. These may contain critical data that can create additional personalization. Data appends can provide values for additional information that allows you to use segments more effectively in your communications.

#5: Explore Print Options Before Designing

Saving money on postage starts in the planning phase for your print job. With printing, the more you print, the lower your rates. Before drawing up communication ideas with us, we talk about the design layouts with you.

We’ll offer suggestions based on what you’re looking to achieve, and can find affordable alternatives to suit your budget.

These are some questions and things to consider when planning to ensure maximum savings:

  • How many pages should your project be? Consider cutting down on the copy, changing the paper size, or using a different media type to get the information across while ensuring that your design still conveys an appropriate length.

  • Plan ahead so you can foresee any potential rush charges.

  • Consider the print piece you are planning. Make sure it’s not too small or too large, resulting in extra finishing costs, special envelopes or mailing/postage issues.

  • Will the various aspects of your artwork require more than just simple assembling?

  • Are you designing your page layouts in multiples of four to optimize page count?

  • Paper can make up to 40% of any job’s cost. That is why it’s important you choose the most cost-efficient paper stock.

If you are still looking for ways to save on print and postage, or simply need answers to your questions, our team may be able to help. We offer comprehensive marketing, branding, and design services. Contact us today!


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Kathy McConnellKathy McConnell is an experienced direct marketer, content writer, and digital strategist. Driven by results, she takes pride in providing the best innovative strategies possible. As the Marketing Director at BCG Connect, her goals include educating, informing, and inspiring nonprofits and education clients to implement strategic marketing into their fundraising.