Monthly Archives: March 2016

Why Use Caging/Lockbox Services

caging-lockboxWhen it comes to the sustainability of a non-profit, the receipt of donations is at the forefront. After all, where would a non-profit be if it didn’t have financial backing? The receiving and processing of contributions is important but is it really something a non-profit should handle on their own?


In the non-profit world, there is fluctuation in receiving donations. The unpredictability and irregular inbound flow of contributions makes it near impossible to efficiently plan for processing in house. If you have a part time person handling it, the envelope may wait days to be handled while a full time person may be sitting around waiting for the next wave of envelopes to arrive. Outsourcing to a caging vendor alleviates this issue and allows non-profit employees and volunteers to focus on their core competencies and not worry about the processing of donations.


The actual process of opening envelopes, adding up the contributions and depositing the funds is known as caging.


No Capital investment. Caging vendors offer non-profits the people, process and equipment needed to effectively manage their inbound donations without having to make a capital investment. Caging professionals are trained to handle these tasks so that you can focus on your core competencies.

Data Capture. The capturing of information about a donor is almost as important as the actual donation. Information about the donor is captured in a database made available to the non-profit. This is truly priceless information! The use of this information is invaluable as non-profits work toward improving their mail list and optimizing their donor request letters.

Other benefits include: Reduction of in house administrative costs
Efficient processing of donations
Timely deposits


You may be thinking that this sounds great – and therefore, must be expensive. In actuality, caging typically accounts for less than 5% of a non-profits total direct mail spend.


Now that you know and understand the benefits of partnering with a caging vendor, you need to select one. Be sure you select one that is PCI compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS).

Here are a few other attributes to consider.
Technology available
Disaster recovery plan
Internal controls
Customer service initiatives


Reach out to us at or leave us a comment below!
Founded in 1959, Washington Intelligence Bureau (WIB) is one of the oldest, most respected caging/lockbox providers in the Northern Virginia area. Our team is here to answer any questions you have about our services.

Making Direct Mail More Personal

4-direct-mailMail is a great communicator. You can reach anyone anywhere with an address. According to the CMO Council, nearly 60% of all direct mail pieces sent are opened in the US.

It’s true, pieces that are printed on brightly colored paper, uniquely packaged or have eye catching graphics tend to grab their recipients attention.  However, it is personalized pieces that not only grab their attention, but keep it, too.

We’re sharing 4  simple ways to help you create a more personal direct mail piece for your next campaign.


Address the recipient by name

Of course you know to use their name in the address block (as opposed to “Resident” or “Homeowner”) but don’t discount using it in other parts of your piece as well.  

Create a conversational tone by addressing them by their first name – just be sure that you have their correct name and spelling – within the piece. A personal salutation such as “Hi First Name” will create immediate appeal.

This will foster a personal connection and draw the recipient in.


Personalized Images

When selecting the images to use as part of your direct mail piece, it is important to select one of high quality.

It’s just as important to take into consideration your target audiences’ demographic and lifestyle. If you are targeting young families, pictures that include young children are a safe bet. This lets the intended recipient know that you are responding to their unique needs.

The more relevant the photo is to them, the more likely they are to keep reading.


Past History

Take a page from the history book! Look at what the client has done in the past and target your piece based on their previous buying behavior.  

Use what you know about the client to create a personalized direct mail campaign. If you are looking for donations, mention the amount of the donation they made previously and ask if they can help with an increased amount this time.

This targeted marketing technique generates a high response rate and a strong ROI.


Location, Location, Location

It’s human nature to want to know what the neighbors are doing. Use that natural curiosity to your advantage.

Point out that others on their street (in their community, town, etc) have purchased your product, used your service or contributed to your campaign and that they don’t want to miss out.

Take the time to personalize your next direct mail campaign to your target audience. The payoff will be better engagement, higher response rate and ultimately, increased sales/donations.


What personalization techniques have you used successfully?


5 Ways to Avoid Donor Fatigue


Donor fatigue is an unfortunate, yet very common, situation that occurs when key contributors reduce or even stop supporting your cause. DON’T PANIC! It can be a challenge to engage burnt out donors. We’ve got 5 creative ways to help keep donor fatigue from derailing your fundraising efforts.

Space out your events

Schedule your events with enough time between them to give your donors some space. As committed to your cause as they are, it is likely that they are not financially able to give constantly.

When planning your next event look at the calendar and ensure it isn’t too far before or after another one that will be tapping the same folks. It’s a good rule of thumb to leave at least 4-6 months between events.  

Allowing ample time between events will be appreciated by your donors and leave them with a greater ability to contribute.

Increase Donor Recognition

Of course you appreciate all of your donors, but they don’t always feel that way. Take the time to recognize them and show them that they’re contributions and support are truly appreciated.

A column in your next newsletter highlighting key contributors is one nice way to recognize donors. Sending a personal thank you note or making a phone call directly will also go a long way.

Recognizing your donors will make them feel more emotionally attached and appreciated and could yield you a greater contribution next time.


Sharing as many details as possible with your donors is a must. Let them know exactly how their contribution will be used.

Include as many concrete facts in your appeal or invitation as possible. Most donors are interested in knowing what percentage of their donation goes to events/activities, advertising, office, etc. Sharing financial summaries, tax information and if applicable, salaries, is a good idea.

Being transparent with your contributors can have a big impact on their decision to if and how much to contribute to your cause.

Be Creative

Asking for a financial contribution can grow old. Look for a new call to action. There are plenty of out of the box ways you can ask donors to support your cause.

Here are few to get you started:

  • Rather than just writing you a check, you can request they offer a product or service for you to auction or re-sell thrift style.
  • Ask businesses to underwrite a part of your next event. For example, to be the coat check sponsor or to provide the dessert.  
  • Offer memberships to your organization that give members perks.

Donors are more likely to contribute to your cause if they see they will get some benefit from it as well.

Grow Your List

At some point, your donors will phase out for one reason or another. Creating a new pipeline of potential donors is essential to ensure that your cause continues to have the necessary support.

Consider hosting an event in which you ask key donors to attend AND bring a guest. Be sure you have a registration table set up to capture their contact information. A friendly follow-up after the event will begin planting the seeds needed to grow your donor list.

There are, of course, plenty of other ways to accomplish this. If your organization has a stewardship program, they can help with this. If you don’t have one — it may be time to consider creating one.  

Take a look at how, when and what you are asking of your donors and modify your strategy to raise sustainable funds for your organization.

Share with us how you avoid donor fatigue in the comments.

Electronic vs. Print Invitations

Lots of hard work goes into planning an event, whether it is a small birthday party or a large wedding. You’ve secured the venue, decided on the menu and planned the activities. Armed with your invite list, you wonder – “now what?”

Thanks to technological advances, you can sit down at your computer, use a template (or create one of your own) and efficiently send an electronic invitation. Sounds easy, right?  It may be, but, there is something to be said for the look and feel of a traditionally printed invitation.

Consider this as you choose your method – or methods – of  sharing event details with your guests.



Share in the comments with us the best use you have found for each invitation style.