Monthly Archives: February 2016

3 Ways to Build Your Mailing List

3-ways-to-build-your-mailing-listMethods for building a mailing list that will lead to successful campaigns.

Direct mail is an effective way for businesses to market their products and services and is also a great way for organizations to raise awareness and funds for their cause. It is impossible to overstate the importance of a solid mailing list for a successful campaign.

If you want to boost the return of your next direct mail campaign, now is the time to begin capturing addresses and growing your list. We are sharing 3 strategies you can use right now to help you organically build a quality list.

Create an Online Contest

Who doesn’t love a contest? Especially if there is a great prize to be won.

Create a contest that will appeal to the demographic you’re trying to reach. If you are targeting families with young children, asking them to share funny stories about their kids in exchange for a chance to win tickets to a family friendly event would be a good idea.

When people enter the contest, make it a requirement that they provide their address and opt-in to your mailings. After all, you will need their contact information to get them their prize.

Host an Event

If your target market is (relatively) local, hosting an event is a surefire way to grow your list. Tailor your event to the interests of your potential audience. Hosting an informational event about retirement planning is a great option if you’re looking to attract middle-aged adults.

Sharing your event on your social media will help promote it. However, your best place to start is with your current clientele. Let them know about the event first. Incentivize them to bring a guest by offering them VIP seating, a coupon for future products/services or even a promotional item.

A registration table should greet your attendees. Let them know you are collecting their information so that you can keep them informed of future events, special promotions and ways to get involved.

Offer Premium Content

Sharing great content on your website, social media and newsletter is important to keep your readers engaged and attract new ones. However, keeping premium content available only to registered users is perfectly acceptable.

Offering a free e-book download, special coupon or more in-depth information are great incentives for consumers to click through and provide you with their mailing information.

Your client will feel like a VIP with this special access. You can then invite them to share the page with their friends, followers and clients.

Your mailing list is a living entity and will grow and evolve over time. Putting the effort into creating and managing a solid mailing list will lead to greater success and a strong ROI on your next direct mail campaign.

Make Your Donation Letters Work

5-reasons-letters-not-working---Pinterest-735x735Increase the response rate to your appeal letters with these tips.

Discouraged by the low response rate to your last call for donation letter? There has to be a good reason – or 5 – that this is the case. We’ve taken a look at the 5 most common mistakes made in donation appeal letters and found solutions for  fixing them.

  1. Not writing to your target audience

Knowing and understanding your target audience is key. Do your best to put yourself in their shoes. Think about their likes and dislikes and tailor your letter specifically to that demographic.  It is important to know know the average age, household income and even the gender of your audience. This isn’t always easy. It takes research and time.

Consider how your demographic things and what emotionally motivates them. Once you understand the demographic, use words that will appeal to them in order to develop an emotional connection. Statements that start, “Imagine if your child” or “How would you feel if your wife” are attention grabbers.

  1. There is no clear call to action

If your potential donors don’t know what to do or how to do it, they aren’t able to. There is no need to beat around the bush. Use the words “donate” or “contribute” in your letter.

Lay out the request including how to respond in a clear manner. The easier it is to respond, the more likely they will. For example, “Please become a part of the biggest movement to cure breast cancer in the US, and help save lives.  Go to and make your donation today.”

Use specific words such as “today” and “right now” so that the potential donor will take immediate action and not put your request off to the side.

  1. Your letter isn’t focused on the donor

Is the word “you” used in your letter enough? Chances are, it’s not. The word “you” is an emotional trigger. Using it often in your letter will help establish a connection with your potential donor. By the end of the first paragraph, your reader should have a clear understanding of how they will benefit by contributing.

Make your letter as conversational as possible. When talking about your organization, use words like “we” or “our” to further develop that emotional connection. The more invested in the organization a potential donor feels, the greater the likelihood it is that they will contribute.

  1. Bad timing

It’s important to consider the best time to send donation requests.  Take into consideration holidays and other events that coincide with the expected arrival of your request. During the fourth quarter, most people have so many financial obligations that donation letters often go unanswered.  Sending a letter following an event in which you’ve made a personal connected at is also a great strategy.

Did you know that people are more inclined to respond to requests in the winter time? Consider timing your next request during the colder months of the year.

  1. Your letter doesn’t stand out

Let’s face it, your potential donors are someone else’s too. This means they are receiving many letters.

Make yours one to remember. Here are some ideas to do just that.

  • Start it off by grabbing your reader’s attention. Let your first sentence illustrate the direct impact their donation will have.  
  • Be creative by using a memorable color or image in your letter.  Consider hiring a designer to help you out.
  • Ensure that your font is large enough to be read. We suggest a 14 point font.

Don’t allow less than stellar results from previous letters discourage you.  Fixing these 5 common mistakes in your next letter and watch your response rate rise!

Our Favorite Non-Profit Twitter Chats


Twitter has long been dominated by large businesses, but in recent years, the non-profit market presence has grown significantly on this social media platform.  The many unique features available make it the perfect space to network and raise awareness for your cause.  Twitter Chats, aka Tweet Chats, are a powerful tool non-profits can and should take advantage of.

What is a Tweet Chat? A Tweet Chat is simply a virtual conversation. It is the perfect opportunity to connect with others who have the same interest as you.
The time and topic of the conversation are predetermined and a predesignated hashtag is used to link the participants comments.

Here are Three of our Favorite Non-Profit Themed Tweet Chats.

Non-Profit Mar Community – #npmc

If you want to learn and talk about non-profit marketing communications, this is the place to go. The #NPMC Twitter chat takes place on the last Thursday of each month at 1:00 p.m. EST. It is open to anyone who is involved in nonprofit marketing communications, including volunteers, employees and suppliers specialized in the sector.

Get more information about this chat, see past chat transcripts and register for updates from

Fundchat – #fundchat

This group of non-profit professionals discusses all things fundraising from the larger issues to the finer details, all topics are covered. The #fundchat takes place weekly on Wednesdays at 12:00 p.m. EST. New members are encouraged to participate.

View their upcoming schedule, search past conversations and learn more about this diverse group at

Thoughtful Thursday Volunteer Managers – #ttvolmgrs

This group is focused on championing the vital role of those that lead, manage, and coordinate volunteer teams. You’re invited to participate in virtual conversations, share thoughts or ask questions throughout the day each Thursday.

Visit their online community, review past posts and get acquainted with these professionals at

Tweet Chats can be overwhelming as many move at light speed. Be patient. Once you get the hang of participating in Tweet Chats you will love it and find them to be an invaluable resource.


3 Design Mistakes

Blog-pinterest-post---3-printdesign-mistakesHave you ever caught a typo on a menu? Or saw a pixelated photo in a newsletter? Mistakes can happen in communication, but when you’re printing a piece and budget dollars count, there’s no room for errors. Take a look at three common mistakes and what you can do to avoid them completely.

Mistake #1:  Poor quality images

If a picture’s worth a thousand words make sure yours are saying the right things.

  • Include only photos that are expressive, clear and compelling.
  • Hire a photographer or invest in a good camera to capture moments (big and small) so you always have photos to choose from.
  • Consider paying for quality stock photography if an image is going to be featured prominently. It’s heartbreaking to find that your free stock photo is also being used by someone else.
  • Print resolutions need to be between 300-400ppi. Ask your printer to review your files and run a proof to ensure everything looks great.

Mistake #2: Not paying attention to readability

The best copy in the world won’t get read if it’s too small, the font is too light or it’s blurry.

  • Text should be no smaller than 8 point type.
  • Select fonts with care – too thin and they may not fully print, too heavy and lines may bleed together.
  • Be careful when using white or light copy on dark backgrounds. It’s not only harder to read, but tends to be less crisp because of printing processes that build colors.
  • Use headlines and subheads to move readers through the copy.
  • Avoid trying to include too much information in a single piece.

Mistake #3: Not proofing

Hiring a proofreader is an insurance policy for a printed piece.

  • A fresh set of eyes and a mind for spelling can save you from typos and punctuation woes.
  • Your final review should also look for line breaks, hyphenations, spacing and page numbers.
  • A press check or proof print can catch color and layout issues.
  • Make sure to double – or triple – check your call to action. An error in your website URL, address or phone number demands reprinting.