Not including an ask? Don’t send it.

Charity word cloudEvery day I receive charity mail. Mail from those included in my personal direct marketing study and mail from those organisations I support independently.

I often times get asked what is the thing that shocks me the most as you look across the charities? The thing that surprises me the most is organisations that send an appeal, a newsletter, an annual report, or other material without making an ask for a donation.

Just this week I received a beautiful newsletter from one of the nation’s leading medical research institutes. I opened the envelope, pulled the newsletter out, opened the newsletter and I wanted to scream. No ask was included in the envelope. No response device with a self-addressed envelope. The research institute included a response device printed on page 5 of the 6 page newsletter. How many people take the time to clip this device out of the newsletter to make a gift?

If you are going to take the time to send material to donors and prospective donors, take the time to make an ask for a donation. In doing so, make it easy for the donor to give a gift to you. Do not make it an art project. Include a pre-printed response device and an envelope for ease in returning the donation. If you are not going to make an ask for a donation, do not bother to send the fundraising or stewardship piece.