Keeping track of who donated, how much and when is vital, along with accurate address information. If your non‐profit has more than one “product” it’s also important to note which one appealed to each donor. Fundraising campaigns are usually conducted three to four times annually, with year‐end being the most popular time.
If your primary fundraising season is the holidays (late November through the year‐end), your list should be cleaned up each fall. National Change
of Address (NCOA) keeps track of all address updates given to the postal service; matching your records against NCOA will save valuable time and money and makes your mailings more effective.
On some mailing cycles be sure to include prospects, if you aren’t already. Various donor lists are available for rental. These lists are usually nationwide and can be tested to determine which, if any, generate results. If you raise funds on a local or regional level sometimes you may need to search a little harder for your prospect lists due to the possibility of a limited number of records in your geographic target area.
There are creative ways to trade lists with like-minded, yet non-competing, organizations or purchase lists based on demographic or geographic data. The bottom line is breaking even. If you can generate enough revenue from prospects, thereby converting them to your ‘gold’ list, the process can continue without breaking the budget.
Meeting postal regulations is vital to a successful fundraising program. If your direct mail piece can be processed through their high-speed, automated equipment you’ll get the lowest possible rate. Considerations include the size and shape of the piece, the weight, the space allocated for the address panel and/or a barcode. If you don’t have a non‐profit mailing permit, you’re wasting valuable postage dollars.
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