Taking Your Direct Mail Appeal Digital in 2020: 12 Tips to Mastery

When it comes to fundraising, the tax-time appeal ranks as one of the top two opportunities throughout the year (alongside Christmas).

And yet, many not-for-profits are leaving donations on the table by not partnering their Direct Mail letter with effective social media and email marketing!

Recent research from the UK shows that for commercial organisations,

“customers spend 25% more when businesses use a combination of direct mail and email marketing”

… and we're convinced the same is true when it comes to giving to NFPs.

With that in mind, here are five ways you can maximise the effectiveness of your tax-time Direct Mail campaign (DM) through a clever email campaign (EDM) and social media strategy.

Promote your appeal through email

  • Create an automated 3-4 email appeal series, with the first email scheduled to arrive in donor’s inboxes within 7 days of receiving their DM letter
  • Emails 2-4 should be scheduled to send closer to the giving deadline (e.g. a reminder email sent 2 weeks before June 30, and a second reminder sent on June 29)
  • The tone of each email should become gradually more urgent as the deadline approaches. Use subject lines and pre-headers with copy such as ‘Time is running out’, ‘Don’t forget’, or ‘Make your tax-deductible donation before tomorrow’
  • Draw on elements from the DM campaign to help create each email. For example:
    • The outer envelope teaser can be repurposed as the email subject line
    • The DM thank-you letter can be repurposed to create an EDM thank-you letter
    • The main call-to-action in your DM can be repurposed to create a similar call-to-action in your EDM, but the action is to click rather than call or post.
    • Create a summary copy of the letter for the body copy in your EDM
    • Much of the body copy in the letter can be repurposed to create a specific landing/donation page for the EDM and social media posts
  • Plan to send a follow-up ‘success’ email to all donors within 4 weeks of June 30, thanking them for their support and reporting back on the results. This gives an additional opportunity to ask for a gift, particularly if the goal wasn’t reached during the primary campaign time

Promote your appeal on social media

  • Just like with your email campaign, plan to start promoting your tax-time appeal on social media within seven days of sending out the DM letter
  • Use storytelling as often as possible in your social media copy, as this is the most likely content to be liked and shared by your followers
  • Increase the urgency within your social media posts as the deadline approaches
  • Keep your posts relatively short (50-150 words), and drive users to the campaign landing/donation page, where the case for support will be built more substantially
  • Try and keep at least a 50/50 balance during appeal season between posts promoting the appeal, and more general posts
  • If possible, keep your social media followers excited and motivated by giving regular updates as you receive donations – e.g. “We’ve now received 65% of our target. Please give today to help reach 100% by June 30”
  • Post a follow-up ‘success’ message to thank donors and followers for helping reach the goal, and offer them one last opportunity to give if they weren’t able to donate before the June 30 deadline

Need some help writing social media and email copy? We've created pre-made templates for Tax Appeal 2020! Click below to check them out 👇🏼

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