nonprofit direct mail design blog

Increase Donor Awareness—and Response Rates

Stand out from the nonprofit crowd with these direct mail design tips
By Neil Lubin

Direct mail is far from dead, and research confirms it. 70% of people agree that direct mail feels more personal than digital methods. Nonprofits employ the power of emotion to increase donations and using direct mail to do so can be effective.

For nonprofits, direct mail remains a powerful tool within the fundraising arsenal. Studies suggest that donors engage more with printed materials and better retain the information. But without a strong first impression, that doesn’t matter. Before people read your message, they need to open it. Here are a few ways to grab and your donors’ attention.  

A Fresh Take On Direct Mail Classics  

All envelopes are not created equally. Aside from the basics, like including compelling teasers and graphics, there are other ways to make an instant impact. Consider these ideas:  

  • The texture of a custom embossed envelope or specialty paper creates an immediate and memorable tactile response to stand out. 
  • Hot Note®envelopes deliver instant intrigue with peel-away adhesives. And they have sticking power. Include a save-the-date or helpful information that will make recipients want to display the note, so you stay front of mind.  
  • Bangtail envelopes are eye-catching and their detachable piece makes responding nearly effortless.  
  • Include an insert to highlight an important feature of your campaign or perhaps to tell a story that illustrates your mission in action.  
     

Choose Your Words Carefully  

The way nonprofits speak to their donors drives (or diminishes) response rates. Don’t be afraid to tap into emotion. While crafting your message, write with both a sense of urgency and authenticity. Focus on the reader. Let them know how their gift will instantly make a difference and how appreciated they are.

Aim to do this as succinctly as possible. Data indicates that direct mail wordcount has dropped considerably, right in line with a waning average attention span. But you shouldn’t cut essential copy for the sake of brevity. This time-tested copy rule is good to keep in mind: as long as necessary, but no longer.  

Make it Easy to Give  

Make it crystal clear for your donors. Smart direct mail design choices like QR code envelopes and USPS® Augmented Reality scanner envelopes make giving incredibly simple. Using any smart phone, donors simply point, click and are taken to your donation page.    

When thoughtfully executed, direct mail far outperforms other fundraising strategies. Contact us today for more winning ideas.  

About Tension Corporation 

A global leader in envelope products, packaging and packaging automation solutions, the Tension Corporation is a privately held and operated, international company based in Kansas City, Missouri. Tension manufactures billions of envelopes annually and their envelope division serves a variety of industries, including financial, insurance and direct marking, plus they work directly with third-party providers. The packaging and automation division of Tension provides software, consumables, automation and service and support for fulfillment to the e-commerce and pharmaceutical industries. 

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