Direct mail is an effective way to acquire new donors. Nonprofits shop around for mailing lists of potential donors. They look mainly for lists made up of people who are like their existing donors or lists of people who support causes similar to the nonprofit’s cause. The nonprofit tests a few of these lists, then rents one and sends a fundraising letter or other fundraising piece to everyone on the list. Those who respond by sending in a requested donation are added to the nonprofit’s donor list.
Those new to fundraising are sometimes surprised to learn that in all but rare cases, the donations generated by a donor acquisition mailing do not cover the cost of the list, the mailed piece and the mailing. The cost is an investment, an investment that will be more than recouped if the nonprofit can develop a long-term relationship with the new donor and the new donor continues financial support of the organization over a long term.
For more information on donor acquisition campaigns, see our resource 5 Tips For Effective Donor Acquisition.
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