When A Direct Solution started working with this organization, serving individuals with disabilities, the organization had some 5,500 donors.

It had historically mailed two direct mail appeals a year and two hard copy newsletters. Then the organization hired a new Director of Development. With a small staff, she was tasked to considerably grow the donor base and its fundraising budget. A Direct Solution was hired to help accomplish this.

We knew that there was huge potential for prospecting and that the organization needed to grow. It had not done many acquisition appeals in the past and yet, the programs and awareness in the community had grown.

We also knew that renting lists from other donor organizations in this regional area was much more expensive than statewide, because of the small  number of names available. We found that typical list rental minimums of 5,000 names were prohibitive, so we had to find an alternative source.

A Direct Solution found a great list of taxpayers. The list is affordable, totally local, and it offers many selections, including home value, age, female/male and charitable interest. In addition, with this area showing a large number of second homes, it’s possible to select on year round homeowners or vacation home owners. We had successfully used this list for a number of organizations in the area.

Next, we identified those towns where the organization had programs or where we expected some of their potential charitable donors to live.

We developed two different packages, one for donors and one for prospecting, printed and produced at the same time to get the optimum cost savings and optimize personalization without putting undue stress on the organization.

The prospecting package was based upon a successful donor appeal tested in the spring. We updated some pictures and the service offerings, but kept the rest of the package as is. The appeal consisted of a full color un-personalized letter, a personalized reply form showing through the window and a courtesy reply envelope. It featured two of the individuals with disabilities the organization had served. The letter was signed by the board president. The package mailed bulk rate with a live nonprofit stamp.

The donor appeal featured another story and several pictures of individuals with disabilities. It consisted of a closed envelope, a personalized letter/reply, with the reply form cut off after lasering and a courtesy reply envelope. The letter was signed by the executive director. We created an ask table with ask amounts based upon previous gifts .

One small group of high donors ($250+) was laser personalized by the mail house and inserted, but not sealed, and then given to the organization so the Executive Director could write personal notes. This was then mailed first class. The second group of donors (including event donors and direct mail donors) was mailed bulk rate with a live non-profit stamp.

The results were terrific! The prospecting appeal made money and the organization generated almost 300 new donors. Following are the results broken out by appeal and totaled:










Costs Net




Cost To Raise  a $
Donors 5,403 505 9.3% $               66,037 $           4,319 $       61,718 $         130.77 $       0.07
Prospects 19,625 282 1.4% $               18,543 $         11,292 $         7,251 $           65.76 $       0.61
Totals 25,028 787 3.1% $               84,580 $         15,611 $       68,969 $         107.47 $       0.18


It is very important for organizations to find an experience team of qualified professionals for its fundraising needs.  Only a carefully tailored message, backed up by a definite plan with clear objectives, sent to a targeted list of potential donors will achieve and even go beyond the desired outcome. This appeal certainly accomplished that.

We continue to work with the organization and have increased results for them by leaps and bounds. In the most recent year, their direct response program grew by 32%!

If you’d like me to help you with your appeals or monthly donor program or if you have any questions, simply email or call me at (508) 776-1224.

You can also just contact the Monthly Giving Help Line . It only takes one extra new monthly donor to pay for it! You can’t beat the price.

Or you can schedule some time for an Audit to look at your overall program.

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