I’m a big fan of communicating by mail. It’s more personal and your donors are more likely to see something they receive in the mail, as opposed to any type of electronic message you send. Plus, people never get nearly as much mail as they do email and social media messages.
Electronic communication is good, but communicating by mail is better.
Now you might say – “But mail is too expensive. So is printing something. We have a small staff and we barely have time to get anything done.” I understand all that. I know direct mail can be expensive and putting together a mailing takes more time, but it’s an investment that can help you raise more money.
One way to mail that shouldn’t cost too much is to use postcards. First, you can probably do them in house. Also, if you do it well, it’s a quick, easy way to capture your donor’s attention right away. Creating a postcard will be less expensive than something like a four-page newsletter. Donors have a lot going on and don’t want to be barraged with information.
Direct mail is a proven way to communicate and engage. I encourage you to give postcards a try. Landscaping companies, realtors, and political candidates all use postcards, and so should you. Here are a couple of ways you can engage with your donors by using postcards.
Thank your donors
Never miss an opportunity to thank your donors and a quick and easy way to show gratitude is with a postcard.
Create a postcard with a thank you photo, image, or word cloud. The best option is to create a card with enough space so you can include a handwritten note. If that’s not possible, then create one with a pre-printed message.
Let your donors know how their gifts are helping you make a difference for your clients/community and that you couldn’t do your work without them.
Send a thank you postcard sometime between one of your fundraising campaigns, so your donors know you’re thinking about them. Another idea is to send one as a warm up before a campaign.
Ideally, you should be thanking your donors at least once a month. Many organizations don’t mail any type of thank you card, so you’ll stand out if you do.
Share an update
A postcard can be a good way to share an update with your donors. You could make an infographic to give them a quick glance at some of your progress. Some organizations use oversize postcards for their impact/annual report.
Some infographics just show a bunch of numbers, and numbers don’t mean that much without knowing why something is important. For example, instead of just listing the number of people visiting your food pantry, let your donors know you’re seeing higher numbers because families are having trouble making ends meet due to rising food prices.
Other ways to use postcards
You could send a postcard wishing your donors a Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Holidays. Another option is a donor’s anniversary or their birthday, if you keep track of that.
You can also use a postcard for fundraising. While not as effective as a direct mail package (letter, reply envelope, etc.), it can be used as a heads-up for a campaign or a reminder. My husband recently received a postcard from his high school promoting a Giving Day. It included a QR code and a website link. Including a QR code on a postcard, or any mail piece, can direct your donors to your website so they can make a gift or get more information.
Postcards are good for a Save the Date for an event. You could also use one for an informal event.
What to keep in mind
Your postcard needs to capture your donor’s attention right away. It needs to be visual and not include a lot of text (but not just numbers). The text you do include needs to be engaging, conversational, and donor-centered. Examples could include Thank You, Because of you, or Look what you helped us do.
Yes, communicating by mail costs more, but it can pay off if you create something more personal that your donors will see. Whether you’re saying thank you, sharing an update, or a combination of both, connect with your donors by sending them a postcard.