Writing for direct mail is different than your average marketing piece.

There are tried and true components that direct mail copy editors employ to draw in donations that have worked for decades. Effective letters are long. They can be four, ten or even twenty pages because they need to convey and convince a donor to send in a gift.

What should be included in a direct mail piece?

According to Mal Warwick’s Revolution in the Mailbox, there are five essential parts of an effective direct mail letter:

  • Build a connection with the donor

People love hearing and reading their name. It is a common sales tactic. This letter is no different. If you have the opportunity, include the donors name early on in the body of the letter. Connect with the donor by using “you” as much as possible.

  • Present an offer of participating with your organization

In your letter present the different opportunities that a donor can support or join. Use this time to describe the benefits for joining a specific membership program or how their gift will affect the project.

  • Make the case for why they should donate

Use storytelling to convince the reader to support your organization. Emotion and connection are driving forces that make donors want to give to your organization. You are making a difference in your community- showcase this!

  • Create a sense of urgency

Set a deadline or a reason why their gift is needed NOW! This sense of urgency along with your compelling story should make your donor sit down your letter and pickup their checkbook.

  • Ask for money

If you don’t ask for money, a donor won’t know to send it! An effective tactic is to ask for a specific amount based on their highest paid contribution or most recent contribution. The goal is to ask for more than before, but still a reasonable amount. This can be calculated and added to the letter by the mail shop or a mail merge if you are doing your letters in house.

Writing effective direct mail is just one way your organization can build their donor file. Want to learn more on direct mail management? Check out the Julep blog.