A nonprofit recently made one change to their print newsletter that helped them raise quite a bit more money:
BEFORE: the reply card for their newsletter used to have “static” gift ask amounts. This means every single donor’s reply card had the same gift ask amounts as every other donor.
AFTER: their updated reply card has customized gift ask amounts for each donor. This mean each donor sees amounts that are based on their own previous giving to the organization.
There were no design changes to the reply cards. There were no changes to the newsletter itself. The only thing that changed was each donor was asked to give amounts that were based on their previous giving.
Net revenue went up 36%.
That’s a big increase!
Minuses, But Mostly Plusses
It takes more time to create custom gift asks than it does to slap some ask amounts on one RD and send it to everyone.
The printing costs are often slightly higher because you’re customizing/lasering each reply card as opposed to printing them all at once.
The lettershop costs are often slightly higher because you have to match the reply cards to the outer envelope (unless you’re using a window envelope and the donor’s address on the reply card drives the window).
Yet despite all those time and cost increases, customized gift asks on reply cards is standard operating procedure for nonprofits who have their direct mail act together.
Why is that?
- They raise more money. The increased gross revenue from using customized gift ask amounts far more than pays for the increased costs of doing it. So the organization’s net revenue increases and they are able to do more of their mission work.
- Customized gift asks are an outcome of donor-centric fundraising. A reply card with ask amounts tailored to a donor communicates to that donor that they are known. It communicates to the donor that the piece of fundraising they are holding was made for just for them.
If your organization is already using customized gift asks, good on you.
If your organization hasn’t made the leap yet, check out Work Less Raise More. Each training module for printed fundraising pieces includes step-by-step training for how to create customized gift asks for your donors (and a pre-built spreadsheet tool to help you do it).