marketing Archives - DonorLynk

Past to Present Direct Mail Trends

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Taken from the past five years and the present, we’re sharing direct mail trends found from several online resources for nonprofit marketing. Direct mail is the last communication method evaluated this month, be sure to check out our posts on social media and email the past few weeks!

In 2012, seasonality trends, personalization, and retention focus were top trends. As we all know, personalization has maintained a must for optimum response from direct mail.

In 2013, the size of the envelope was shoved to priority, as well as maintaining personalization throughout content mailed out.

In 2014, trends that rose to the top were shaping content to certain donor or volunteer groups based on giving, interests, or preferences for involvement and communication, focus on quality AND quantity, and storytelling. Storytelling has also continued to be a point of focus for nonprofits, seeing as sharing your message across multiple platforms has become popular.

In 2015, more nonprofits realized the success of sending direct mail just 2-3 times a year, and printing newsletters quarterly. The beauty of marketing, and the success than can come from it, is the ability to think outside the box. You try different things, that can soar or crash miserably. Your audience and your impact determines the communication that will work best.

In 2016, nonprofits were driven to go back to basics, to focus on well proven methods of improving fundraising. “Micro-campaigns” were introduced as focusing on more frequent direct mail communication while being transparent and intentional with a certain call to action, and how involvement will help.

In 2017, nonprofits are experiencing the revival of printed newsletters, and are focusing on keeping content frequent, simple, and dependable.

Personalization, creativity, and storytelling were three constants in direct mail trends. How are YOU incorporating these at your nonprofit? If you need help boosting your direct mail game, give us a call at 615-998-4600. Is direct mail strategy an issue at your organization? Share how we can help HERE.

Marianna Woodruff is Director of Brand Awareness at DonorLynk, LLC. DonorLynk aims to provide nonprofits with tailored solutions that work for you, not against you.

Sources:

2012: http://www.nonprofitpro.com/article/3-fundraising-direct-mail-trends/all/

2013:http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/direct-mail-trends-such-personalization-format-type-size/all/

2014: http://www.productionsolutions.com/2014/01/13/whats-hot-whats-direct-mail-2014/

2015: http://www.mossandross.com/nonprofit-communications-and-marketing-trends-in-2015/

2016: http://www.nonprofitpro.com/article/80-nonprofit-trends-for-2016/all/

2017: http://angeloakcreative.com/seven-nonprofit-trends-2017/

How to Make Your Direct Mail Stand Out

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Making your direct mail pop to your supporters may seem like you’re in tunnel with no light at the end. However, our team has found that if you can apply these three core ideas to any piece of direct mail, you’ll have a pattern in place for simplifying campaigns and being concise in your message sharing.

Inform

Use your direct mail pieces to focus on educating your donors, volunteers, and members. Leading them to participate with one letter may seem simple (we want it to be!), but, remember, length, word choice, and opportunities highlighted are everything. To educate, you must paint the full picture properly, without drowning constituents completely. It’s not about the balance of too little or too much. It’s more about setting expectations for how they can know more about your nonprofit, and be encouraged by one or five pieces of direct mail.

Compel

Remember a few posts ago, we focused on the infamous call to action, different forms it takes, and how to direct donors and volunteers to participate without begging or bogging them down with requests. To compel means to call to action. Educate constituents with the exciting truth of the impact your nonprofit has, and can have, with their help. If you inspire, they will give.

Record

Don’t overlook the value of the CRM sync! Recording your direct mail send outs within each supporter record allows you to have eyes on the communication sent out and to cross reference with those that give or volunteer in response to it. Observing and recording data like this gives you the truth that you can share with constituents, foundations, and your board in the time to come.

Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack adapted for your nonprofit, by DonorLynk, is what you have been looking for. A system that better measures your mailing results, email or direct, tracks activity between your team and constituents, and all around leads you to improve communication with constituents. Connect here, and begin the improvements today!

Marianna Woodruff is Director of Brand Awareness at DonorLynk, LLC. DonorLynk aims to provide nonprofits with tailored solutions that work for you, not against you.

Crafting Your Message Carefully and Creatively

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Whether it be through a post on social media, an email sent out, or letter penned, your nonprofit must maintain control of your message and exercise your unique take on the operations of your organization through your message. A nonprofit can do this through maintaining consistency, continued creativity, and improved reliability.

Consistent

Keep content regular, so donors and volunteers know what information they can get from your online presence. Building up, meeting, and then exceeding expectations is a good thing. Your followers will be encouraged to check your profiles more often, and click into the links posted, when they trust that the content is intentionally posted, with care behind it.

Creative

While keeping your message consistent, vary it through different perspectives and different features. Phase into different approaches of engaging donors online. Go from educating to storytelling to connecting and then mixing all three together. Understand that constituents seek community within your message, so speak to that. Educating, sharing, and connecting your donors and volunteers with ways to get involved with subtle creativity speaks more to your understanding of what they want AND need more than anything.

Reliable

Put some themes into play, make it to where supporters know that on Mondays they can see this weekly post, and on Thursdays this weekly post. Many of your regular constituents often use Facebook or Twitter now as a search engine in and of itself. If you reliably post where to be, what to bring, what to do, how to do it, and so on, then your “SEO” within social media platforms will be high. Apply this same reliable mindset to your content through social, email, and web, and you will be golden.

Need extra help with building your message and social media calendar? That’s what we’re here for! Contact us at 615-988-4600 to start the conversation on clearer content that will better resonate with your donors and volunteers.

Marianna Woodruff is Director of Brand Awareness at DonorLynk, LLC. DonorLynk aims to provide nonprofits with tailored solutions that work for you, not against you.

The Call to Action and the Different Forms it Takes

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Much like a superhero or a trusted friend, your nonprofit’s call to action can take many forms and shapes. Sometimes, when one least expects it, a donor or volunteer can feel called to act, to participate in unlikely ways. Instead of the typical call to action jammed in between the conclusion of an email or letter and the signature of your development officer, check out a few alternatives that can bring forth more response from your efforts.

Take the time to interview regular volunteers or donors. Use their experience to help create the experience you want all donors and volunteers to have. Let their words call others to invest in your mission. Spotlighting a supporter can help others gain new perspective, and can give your organization a new angle to share its story as well. Take the time to evolve your spotlighting technique to evaluate different departments and how they play a part in day to day operations. You may end up attracting support to help out the marketing, human resources, or membership services team.

Provide an event recap to constituents that weren’t able to attend, or potential supporters that would appreciate the specifics of goings ons at your organization. Wherever they land on the support spectrum, educate them on what has happened and what is to come. Follow up the event recap with a list of future events. You aren’t directly inviting them to attend, but by alerting them of new calendar items, they can appreciate your interest in their genuine involvement.

Call donors and volunteers to be active instead of passive with your organization. Encourage them to not just engage with your nonprofit by liking or reading content, but actually participate and make a difference in the community you’re active in. These calls to action are subtle, but why does a call to action have to be in your face? Donors and volunteers are already interested, just give them a way to invest that’s warm, inviting, and open.

Our team is well versed in donor and volunteer engagement and retention through marketing and fundraising strategy. Reach out to us at 615-988-4600 to start this conversation as it pertains to your nonprofit!

Marianna Woodruff is Director of Brand Awareness at DonorLynk, LLC. DonorLynk aims to provide nonprofits with tailored solutions that work for you, not against you.

The Rules of Social Media Engagement

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Donor engagement, volunteer engagement, member engagement… where do all these supporters come together to engage? Social media! And how are you managing your actions on these platforms so that engagement occurs, and not just a quick glance as they scroll?

Not every post is a call to action. Posts should educate, enlighten, and encourage constituents to make the most of your organization’s mission and community efforts. Highlighting certain key players, such as community members impacted or long time volunteers, can get the wheels turning as to how they can plug in, even if that opportunity is not explicitly offered. It’s becoming a trend that younger people long for community and investing in different programs that call out to them. Give these potential supporters a way to voice their excitement, and engage specifically with your nonprofit at the same time.

Questions aren’t the only way to engage anymore. Prompt your donors and volunteers to share their unique interactions with your organization. Whether it be through their own profiles, or posted to your walls and feeds directly, the story gets shared. These individual stories also give depth and layers to your overall organization story, providing a comprehensive view to potential support of the difference made by the many active pieces of your nonprofit.

Monitor social engagement with your donors and volunteers efficiently within your CRM. Note responses and popular platforms interacted on. Have the flexibility to create custom fields to hold this valuable information in your CRM. Learn more about the possibilities for clearer connections with constituents by giving us a call at 615-988-4600 to get the conversation started!

Marianna Woodruff is Director of Brand Awareness at DonorLynk, LLC. DonorLynk aims to provide nonprofits with tailored solutions that work for you, not against you.