Variable Data Printing Can Improve Ask Letter Effectiveness

Personalize With Variable Data Printing

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! Find out how variable data printing can improve these results below.

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.

Unique Identifiers

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.


  • 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 Middleton today to turn each letter into a unique and meaningful appeal.

The Power of Personalization

Let’s get personal – that is what customers and prospects are expecting from companies and notably the marketing from a company. Now more than ever, the ability to be more relevant with your marketing is not just a reality but an expectation. Prospects and customers are expecting companies and sales professionals to have done their research and to leverage that research and data in their marketing. In fact, if it isn’t relevant or doesn’t show some personal attention, it is more likely to be ignored, trashed, deleted or even generate some adverse response to the company. Consumers are no longer impressed when you “Get Personal”, they just expect it. The data is available and, more importantly, the technology to use it in all your marketing efforts makes it possible. The “New Norm” in marketing is “Get Personal”.


Direct Marketing is a key area for “Getting Personal” with your marketing. This includes essential areas, such as direct mail, email, and targeted ads. While not every company or agency can keep up with the technology required to be personal, those that can are helping companies gain market share and, more importantly, get the right customers for their company. To make this work, you need a print and marketing partner that can leverage data, customize content based on that data, integrate it for seamless execution, and track it to measure success.

7 Customer Reasons to “Get Personal” with your Marketing

  1. 31% of surveyed consumers say they wish their shopping experience was far more personal than it currently is (Infosys Research)
  2. Only 22% of shoppers are satisfied with the current level of personalization they receive (Segments State of Personalization Report)
  3. 57% of consumers are willing to share their personal data in exchange for personalized offers or discounts (Salesforce)
  4. 62% of consumers say it is acceptable to send personalized offers/discounts based on items they have already purchased (McKinsey)
  5. The highest ranked area of interest for personalization was similar product to recent purchase, products related to interest, and updates on availability and price (McKinsey)
  6. 53% of shoppers sign up to get personalized offers (McKinsey)
  7. 63% of respondents said they acted on a personalized message (McKinsey)

It’s important to balance “Get Personal” with privacy. Keep in mind, while consumers are more willing to provide relevant marketing data, only use it with proper permission. Getting personal with a consumer who doesn’t want it or expect it can be dangerous. Always leverage the data slowly and as the consumer allows so they are a willing and interested consumer and not looking for the opt out. Use technology to properly manage the opt in process and again only be as personal as they want and modify as they request.

If you would like to learn how AlphaGraphics help customers “Get Personal” through print and marketing services contact AlphaGraphics Middleton today.