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Why Direct Mail

4 Key Questions Before You Get Started

It's a fact. Direct mail fund raising doesn't work for every organization. It's not a panacea or a sure-fire solution to every funding need. But, for groups that have the right needs and components, it can be a very important part of your fund raising picture. Ask yourself the following four questions.and be brutally honest. If your answer to each question is an emphatic "Yes!" then perhaps direct mail is right for your organization.

  1. Is your organization's need for funds based on a simple, emotional appeal?
    Is the issue you want to mail on really important to the potential donor? Not it should be, but is it already? Does your cause or institution bring anguish to the prospective donors or tug at their heartstrings? If not, forget it! And don't substitute your personal views or business objectives for the opinion of the potential donor, because in this case his feelings are the only ones that count.
  2. Does your organization have a compelling, immediate need for funds?
    Does your organization need funds right now? Direct mail donors look for immediate results. If you want to solve a problem well into the future, they'll wait and contribute later. There is an urgency behind every successful direct mail fund raising program. No urgency, no funds. So if you don't have an immediate need for funds, then direct mail probably won't work for you.
  3. Is the problem you're trying to address national in scope?
    In other words, is it as important to someone in Arizona as someone in Maine, even though you're located in Kansas? In order to raise funds from across America you must have a need and a common cause that has appeal well beyond the borders of your immediate community.
  4. Do you have a track record of success or at least a believable dream?
    A donor wants to know that the organization he is supporting can do what it promises. He wants to see a track record of success and be able to share your dream. Donors have all sorts of options for donating and they're more sophisticated than many think. In order to succeed, your organization must be able to show a solid track record of success or make the donor believe your dream can come true.

If you have given an emphatic yes to these four questions, then there's a high probability that your organization is a good candidate to use direct mail fund raising. Now, to find out if direct mail is right for you and your Board, answer the three questions under Is Direct Mail Fund Raising Right for Me?

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