The Year End Mailing Diversity Dilemma
Between now and the first of the year, there are many different letter types that non-profits might send out. Of course, the end-of-year appeal letter to current donors is a tradition, as is the end-of-year recap of giving that many send out to donors for tax purposes, but also there are letters to lapsed donors, prospective donors, members, pledgers, and I’m sure the list could go on.
One of the great things about FundRaiser is the ability to segment your database into all the diverse groups you’ll need to identify in order to make sure the right people get the right letter, and, in some cases, that when a person gets one particular letter they DON’T get a second, different letter. If your organization sends out multiple letters, and needs to exclude recipients of one when sending out another, please remember that you can assign category codes to help keep things straight.
Let’s assume, for instance, that you’ve identified several groups of donors and prospects that you want to contact, and that they include:
- Donors who gave specifically for one project or another
- Donors who gave general gifts at one time or other, but have NOT given this calendar year
- Donors who gave early in the year, who have given multiple times, but have not given in the past 6 months
- People who have expressed interest in your cause but who have not yet made a donation
The list could go on, but you get the idea. If you have decided to send a different letter to each of these segments of your donor base, you may also need to consider “overlap”. Are there donors in the first group who may also fit into one of the others? If so, do you want them to receive multiple letters from you? Probably not. So you need to 1) identify those possible overlaps, and 2) decide which letter is more appropriate to be sent.
For each distinct group or segment of your database, create a grouping. With one of those groupings open, use the Groupings menu to “Assign Category Code to All” and create a code that will identify them. That way, when you are determining which letters take precedence, you will be able to create a grouping that can either Include or Exclude folks who have particular codes. Of course, when you decide which letter to send to a particular group, you may also want to assign them a code indicating that they received that particular letter.
For example, let’s say that Joe Shmoe gave at your Walkathon early this year, and also at the Spring Fling which was specifically to raise money for your building fund, but hasn’t given since then. Joe may be a candidate for the first and third groups mentioned above. Which letter should he receive? And how will you insure that he is not sent another letter?
If you’ve got a prioritized list of the letters you will be sending, print the most critical one out first. You’ll do this for a grouping, and assign a category code to those people in that grouping. It will then be an easy matter to keep those folks from receiving the second letter on your priority list. You can do that when printing the letter for your second group by using the Advanced section of the Mass Mailings to “Exclude” people based on the category code you assigned those who received the first letter, if you like. You may, instead, want to create a Grouping that uses this same “Exclude Category Code” principle, to get your second group, but to insure that the folks who got the first letter are NOT included. Then you may want to assign all of THESE folks a category code that corresponds to receiving this second letter.
Segmentation and identification for specific targeting of appeal letters can be your key to more successful letter campaigns, so learn how to use codes, gift information, and other data, both for the initial segmentation as well as for eliminating “doubling up” letters. As always, don’t hesitate to call us for help and suggestions.Larry Weaver leads online training for FundRaiser Select and Pro. In his free time Larry enjoys music, motorcycles and being a grandfather.
8 Steps to Writing Successful Fundraising Letters by Mal Warwick
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