Asking for money is never easy, especially when the prospective donors shelled out thousands of dollars in the past to attend your institution. However, without alumni contributions, your institution would likely struggle to continue growing and providing excellent opportunities to students. Donations are necessary, and direct mail is the best way to reach potential donors.
When beginning a fundraising campaign, there are five important rules to keep in mind. These rules will add power to your requests for donations, resulting in greater success.
Call Donor by Name
No one ever wants to feel like just another number. This is especially true when receiving communication from our alma mater. Personalization is absolutely crucial here. Address the envelope by name, greet the donor by name, and ask for the donation with the alumnus’s or alumna’s name. These three places are the most important. If you’d like to call the donor by name in other places, consider the “thank you” line and even the postscript.
Call Donor “You”
Simply calling the alumni by name won’t make the letter feel personal. Take as many chances as you can to address them as “you,” as well. In other words, don’t say “Donors will make a huge impact on students’ lives,” say “You will make a huge impact on students’ lives.” That additional personalization will go a long way. Instead of recipients viewing the donors as separate, they’ll picture themselves taking part.
Call Yourself “I”
Continue building the relationship by making yourself a part of the conversation. Rather than telling potential donors how the school will use the money, say “I’d like to tell you how your gift will be used,” or “I would like to invite you to contribute.” In doing so, you become an approachable entity—someone just as real as the donor. That personalization goes a long way toward creating rapport.
Thank the Donor
If the recipient reads to the end of the letter, they already deserve your thanks for their attention. Don’t wait until they dig out their wallets and checkbooks to show gratitude. That sincere “thank you” at the end of your letter might just be what the potential donor needs to take the next step.
Ask with the Word “Give”
This is a little bit of psychology you’ll use here. Believe it or not, many people are likely to follow a directive when they don’t have to read between the lines. In other words, say “I hope you’ll continue your support and give $50,” or “Please contribute with a monetary gift today.” These words work much better than asking for support, because “support” can be defined in so many different ways.
When you’re ready to begin your direct mail campaign for alumni fundraising, we’re here to help. From the design of your mail to the message you include, we’ll make sure you reach your target every time.