Are you excluding some donors from some of your fundraising mailings? If not, you should be.
Each appeal that you write should be carefully planned and written with certain groups of donors in mind. Yes, it is more work. But the more relevant your appeals are to each donor, the better return you will get from your appeal. Even more importantly, you’ll have a better relationship with your donors.
Start by taking inventory of these groups of donors…
Many nonprofits are unaware that it is illegal in most states to solicit without a license. Often, these licenses are required to be renewed annually along with an annual fee. If you have donors who reside in other states, you’ll need to research those states’ requirements before mailing a request for support. You’ll likely need to exclude them from your fundraising appeals.
For out-of-state donors who are good long-term prospects, consider mailing a special thank you letter or newsletter that doesn’t specifically ask for money.
Please don’t forget to make sure you are complying with your own state’s charitable solicitation license requirements!
You probably have many organizational supporters in your database. These might include churches, social groups, local businesses, or companies. Often it may not be appropriate for them to receive the same appeal that individual household donors receive.
For example, local businesses are more likely to give with a more tailored approach involving personal communication. The contact person within a social club or church may change frequently or that person may not be the decision maker. It may be worth some time to review each organization individually (particularly donors that have made larger gifts), consider why they are giving to you, and what the best approach might be.
Corporate Donors or Foundations:
If you receive grants from a business or a foundation, make sure you exclude them from your general fundraising appeals. They may have specific requirements for communications from their grantees. If not, be strategic about your communications plan for these grantors. Perhaps you might send a specific contact person a newsletter that includes a handwritten note.
Major Donors or Major Gift Prospects:
Donors who make repeated larger gifts to your organization deserve special communications. Even if they sometimes make a gift through the mail, consider pulling them out of your bulk mailing list, and sending the appeal first class with a handwritten note of thanks attached.