As the hot, hazy days of summer wind down, nonprofits are feeling the heat. For these organizations, appeal letters and campaigns account for a sizable chunk of annual revenue—over 25 percent in some cases! That’s why it’s important to start early (and plan carefully) to ensure a successful, far-reaching annual appeal.
Yet for many nonprofits, the journey from idea to execution feels daunting, even chaotic. The stakes are high, and the decisions endless.
Here are seven best practices to unravel the chaos and ensure a successful annual appeal:
All annual appeal branding—from logos, fonts and colors to graphics and messaging—should have a consistent look and feel. This will make your campaign instantly recognizable to donors and avoid confusion. It also speaks to your organization’s unity and professionalism.
Most customers prefer a mix of print and digital advertising. The more “channels” you use to target customers (e.g. direct mail, social media, text messaging and online ads), the higher your annual appeal response rates and donor engagement. Remember to keep branding and messaging consistent across all channels.
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Donors respond best to appeals that tug at the heartstrings. Use real stories and photos to show how your organization is making a difference in the world and include detailed information about how funds will be used.
Distinguish your campaign from others via a unique design element. Try playing with color, size, format, shape, folds, texture, coatings and/or orientation. Contact a printer with experience in nonprofit appeal campaigns for ideas.
Customize your annual appeal to each donor. Identify the donor by name and reference his or her contribution to previous campaigns, location and connection to the organization if possible.
Having the right printing and production partner will ensure your annual appeal campaign is not only well executed, but also properly targeted with a maximum return on investment. An experienced printer will keep your campaign on track, help manage costs and advise you on postage savings, recipient segmentation, mail management, paper styles and weights, design and more.
Every nonprofit’s annual appeal strategy should include prompt follow up to thank donors for their support or remind them to respond.
Trusted by nonprofits nationwide, United GMG provides everything nonprofits need to ensure a successful annual appeal, including expert advice on design, packaging, copywriting, production and mail management, along with our new marketing platform called Omni-Bridge 2.0® that seamlessly tracks and integrates digital and traditional marketing efforts. We offer solutions for any size budget (including many custom options!) to make your appeal stand out.