Major donors should receive direct mail pieces

Snip20160516_13We have all worked for organisations where members of the major gifts team did not wish for “their donors” to be contacted via the organisation’s direct mail.

This is insanity. Here’s why:

  • With an average portfolio of about 150 people, it is unlikely, although not impossible, the major gifts staff person takes the time to have personal contact with the each person in his or her portfolio.
  • The only means the donor may hear from the charitable organisation is through direct mail.
  • The donor likely learns a good amount of information about the nonprofit organisation through the appeals.
  • The donors or prospects in the pool have not made this opt out request. Instead, the organisation staff person has made the choice for the donor.
  • Due to the lack of communication, it is likely the donor will feel “forgotten” or lose touch with the charity. If the charity is not in contact with them via direct mail, you can be sure another charity where they give a major gift is reaching out through the letterbox.
  • Opting to not send direct mail to people in one’s portfolio suggests the major gifts officer is not a team player and, in fact, suggests he or she considers direct marketing to be “dirty” or “junk mail”.
  • The donors and prospects in a major gifts officer’s portfolio are not their donors. These donors and prospects belong to the organisation.

I am not suggesting everyone in a major gifts portfolio should receive direct mail pieces. In fact, there will be donors or prospects who opt themselves out from receiving certain pieces of mail. We must abide by such requests. Your database will be able to handle opt outs and communications preferences in a sophisticated manner.

Staff creating blanket rules for donors is not smart. Instead, take the time to create a high dollar package. Work in concert with the direct marketing person on your fundraising team to customise the experience for the donor and be part of the appeal effort rather than work against.