Fall is the gateway to winter and, by extension, the heralding force before the holiday season. If you’re part of a charitable organization, you know all too well the potential that the season of giving has when it comes to collecting donations. It’s no coincidence that fall is the prime time of year when many not-for-profit causes send out ask letters and donation solicitations!
Asking for money is never easy and, in fact, for charitable organizations who solicit donations, it’s often an uphill battle to collect for your cause. Too many attempts can be off-putting, too few attempts can leave people forgetting about your efforts, and an improperly-worded ask letter can leave people soured on giving.
To be truly effective in bringing in donations, you need to find a silver bullet: a single letter that inspires people to donate and feel good about doing so.
A personal touch
Variable data is the first step towards creating a donation solicitation that’s truly effective. Nothing will send your letter to the circular file faster than a generic tone or a “fill in the blank” quality that makes the recipient feel like you’re just after their money. Personalizing core elements of your ask letter can immediately set the tone of your plea for donations:
- Variable printing the name of each recipient lets them know that you recognize them. “Dear sir/ma’am” or “to whom it may concern” will never be as attention-grabbing or meaningful as “Dear Mr. Smith” or “Hi, John.”
- Use past information to generate a unique ask. Something simple such as “last year you donated $50 to our cause” or “will you match last year’s pledge of $100 this year” will let them know you remember and appreciate their past generosity.
- Pair accomplishments with a recipient’s donation for maximum effectiveness. “We enjoyed seeing you at the Jones Park BBQ in July” or “your contribution made the South Shore Movie Night a huge success” are ways to connect further with potential pledges.
The more information you have, the more you can make it work to the fullest by incorporating it into your ask letter. Variable data printing makes it possible to customize a basic ask letter in such a way that by the time you send it out, each copy has its own personalized touch that makes it unique to the recipient.
It’s important to use variable data to bring your ask letter full circle. This means not only customizing a letter for each recipient, but also creating a way to reap more information and see your return on each mailing. For example:
- Use variable data printing to print unique donation QR codes on letters. When recipients scan codes to donate, you’ll be able to track who’s donating, how much they’re pledging, how many days after the mailing they donate and more.
- Print return envelopes for check donations that already have the recipient’s address, your address and prepaid postage on them. In doing so, you’ve removed all barriers from the donation, while also ensuring you can track who’s sending a donation back, how much, which addresses are incorrect/not up to date, etc.
Variable data printing has immense potential to raise the bar for your organization’s next ask letter or donation solicitation. Instead of sending out a basic, uniform letter and hoping for the best, consult with AlphaGraphics today to turn each letter into a unique and meaningful appeal.