Using Your Direct Mail Donors to Enhance Your Capital Campaign… Not Compete with It!
By Mary Bogucki – Vice President, Amergent
The majority of funding for most Capital Campaigns is solicited from corporations, foundations, government and targeted individuals. During the Campaign, a large amount of publicity will be generated. To capitalize on this publicity – and to ensure that your donors are positively influenced by it – you need to be proactive in your communications to them. By proactively notifying your direct mail donors of your Capital Campaign efforts, you have a greater chance to garner their support for the Campaign than if they heard the news through third-party channels. The primary challenge is to find the best way to inform current direct mail donors about the Campaign and make them feel part of the process. The intention is not to turn direct mail donors into "bricks and mortar" donors, rather, it is to make sure they feel informed – by YOU – of the events taking place. Your message will need to convey the importance of your organization's mission.
Your direct mail donors contribute because they believe they can make a difference to someone, somewhere. Therefore, your message needs to appeal to this core desire. The message should indicate that you could do even more to help people, but the space you currently occupy is limiting your ability to do so and that that you will be able to provide more services to those in need than ever by adding the new facility. It will also be important in this communication series to reiterate that your mission is accomplished in large part due to their generosity.
As with any appeal effort, multiple contacts should be made with donors. In the case of the Capital Campaign series, it will be critical to weave these communications into your standard mail mix while complementing your existing mail schedule. The contacts should look different than your usual direct mail packages and should tie-in with your Capital Campaign promotional materials.
Some basic criteria for your communications strategy are as follows:
- Target a variety of active and recently lapsed segments of your direct mail donor base to inform and involve them in your future plans.
- Cultivate the personal connection so they feel part of the positive growth of your organization.
- Allow those interested in supporting "bricks and mortar" to self-identify.
While all contacts should follow the above general standards, each individual contact should have a specific goal and message focus. For example, the first contact should be sent at least one month prior to groundbreaking and should target the full file. Remaining contacts should target high-end donors specifically, then address the full file again. The basic idea is to inform donors of the events taking place before they happen, then to keep them informed as the various stages of the Capital project progress.
As your Capital Campaign continues, plan to keep your DM donors informed of the progress through articles in your newsletters, e-mail updates or post information and/or photos on your Web site. In addition, continue to ask DM donors to contribute specifically to the Campaign a couple of times per year while the Campaign is underway. Make sure that your donors can always differentiate between your DM packages and your Capital Campaign packages.
In order to make this effort successful, keep in mind that for your DM donors, the main message should always circle back to the reason they originally became your donors…
The new building will ensure that those in need can continue to count on us.
…and then include them as part of the solution.
Together, we can provide better services and solutions to needy men, women and children for years to come.