Once upon a time… a (fun!) direct mail fundraising fable


Once upon a time…

There was a small organization in a town near you.

The staff sat in a room one day and asked, “How can we show our donors that we know what we’re doing and that we should be taken seriously?  How can we make our fundraising more professional?”

So they hired a graphic designer, who made their next mailing look like a shiny brochure. They began to print out mailing labels instead of handwriting donor addresses on envelopes. And they stopped calling their donors because nobody uses the phone anymore.

The staff was excited because these improvements would also free up their time to get more done!

Meanwhile, in that same town… there was a large organization.

Their leadership team sat in their conference room and asked, “How can we let our donors know they matter and that we care about them? How can we be more personal with our donors?”

They decided to make their next mailing feel like a personal letter from the executive director to the donor. They decided to handwrite some of the addresses on the next mailing, and even put a real stamp on the envelope. And they started to call some of their donors three days a week.

They knew these efforts would add time to their work. But they also knew these personal touches would help their donors feel more connected to the organization.


Okay, I get it. This… little fable could only EVER be interesting to fundraisers.

But hear me on this. If you are a small organization you have a superpower that large organizations are trying their best to imitate. You are personal.

Please DON’T give up that superpower!

Your donors want to know there are living, breathing humans behind the letter they are reading.

So embrace the gift of being a small organization!

Be real. Be quirky. Be creative. Be… YOU!


PS — Click here for Steven Screen’s amazing tips for HOW to provide the human touch to your direct mail fundraising – whether you are a small organization or a large organization.

Sarah Lundberg

Sarah is a Fundraising Advisor with Better Fundraising. She has been part of the nonprofit world for over 18 years, most recently as Director of Marketing and Communications at an international ministry. Sarah loves helping organizations see what’s possible when they put proven fundraising practices into place.

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