Staying COOL through the "Summer Slump" Part 2

Keeping Donors Engaged Where they are!

Last month we explored 3 fun tips to help keep your supporters engaged through the busy summer months primarily leveraging digital opportunities. In our commitment to meeting folks where they are, we’ll focus today’s share on the mail and phone strategies that can drive a great deal of engagement independently or as integrated pieces of an omnichannel initiative (wink wink, nudge nudge). 

Without a doubt direct mail continues to be a key pillar of any thriving fundraising program. Yes, digital is definitely on the rise and has been at the forefront for many organizations this past year, but direct mail still anchors campaigns and drives the overall effectiveness of an integrated program.

For the baby boomers on your file, mail is a comfortable vehicle for giving and a catalyst to give through other channels. Also, with the flood of inexpensive online communications, millennials are more likely to read and remember the few mail pieces they receive in their mailbox over the hundreds of digital ads they’re served in a day. Beyond the goodness of mail, you can only imagine the personal touch of a phone call these days – yes, a real voice on the other end of the line. We’ve highlighted a few ideas you might consider below:

1. Direct Mail

We are hearing from so many leaders and partners across the industry that the appeals they sent in June are experiencing historically low response rates. This isn’t a huge surprise considering how eager most folks were to get out of dodge as soon as schools let out for summer. Well guess what, school is back in session and what’s important to note here is that just because someone didn’t take an action, doesn’t mean they didn’t see or think about you, so we still want to take the time to nurture them.

Consider focusing outreach efforts on an opportunity to steward supporters. For some that may mean sending a packet of sunscreen with tips for keeping safe in the sun, for others you could look at creating a “wish you were here” postcard with a QR code inviting them to visit your website. Either way, get creative and be bold – this will be the summer to standout!

Another thought – have you tried Informed Delivery yet? With informed delivery, digital-friendly direct mail campaign creative is delivered by the USPS to direct mail recipients who have signed up. The email can link directly to a designated page on your website increasing the percentage of mail donors who convert to make a gift online – talk about multichannel at its finest!

2. Phone Power

If you’re not seeing as much traction or response from supporters through your organization’s traditional channels, now is the time to give them a quick ring. These calls are not intended to be a solicitation, but a pleasant touch-base call and can come from a member of your team, board, or even a volunteer or service recipient. We recognize that picking up the phone looks a little different for each organization and the audiences we’re targeting so we recommend testing into strategies like outbound call campaigns and voice broadcast messages. 

These are both low-cost, high-return strategies to engage your donors on the go this summer. If you do get folks on the phone, ask about their summer plans, and make a note to follow-up in the Fall to ask how those plans went – personal touch goes a long way in creating an authentic connection and building donor loyalty. 

Before we know it, the summer will be behind us, and we’ll be carving pumpkins and eating turkey. Don’t miss the opportunity to engage with your loyal supporters today and maybe even consider how these tactics could drive success for your Calendar Year End plans!

For more information on how these strategies can drive revenue and engagement for your supporters, reach out to Whitney Norman and stay tuned for more great tips this Summer!