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Direct Mail

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Try a Little Tenderness
CURRENTS Article What’s the difference between telling a prospective donor that a beneficiary of charity fell into poverty and just saying the beneficiary is poor? In direct-mail fundraising efforts, that difference is a 33 percent increase in gifts, with donors showing more sympathy to the aid recipient’s story.

Grand Gold Rush
CURRENTS Article Inspired design, storytelling, ingenuity, humor, and brevity were hallmarks of this year's CASE Circle of Excellence Awards Grand Gold winners, the highest prize bestowed by the program. Whether attracting international applicants with an ambitious contest, sharing advice through campus fun facts and pride points, demonstrating that campus quirks will garner attention and gifts, or redesigning a magazine in a way that makes class notes inviting and (gasp!) readable, institutions relied on research, knowledge, and creative skill to push boundaries and deliver inspired work—much of it produced in-house.

Direct to the Heart
CURRENTS Article At the University of Leeds, we were beginning to wonder whether direct mail would ever work for us or whether the telephone would always be our annual giving program's primary source of donors and income. Then we tried a new strategy: We stopped talking about ourselves all the time. We talked to alumni and donors about their experiences instead.

Survey Shows Direct Mail Still Generates the Most Donations
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recent study reports that donors who give to international groups prefer these charities to contact them via email over mailed letters. Direct mail, however, still generates the most donations.

Smooth Mailing
CURRENTS Article Direct mail isn't dead yet, but institutions can't do business as usual. This article explores how some institutions are learning how to integrate e-mail, Facebook, and other Web tools into their annual fund appeals.

Advance Work: Blah-Blah Blues
CURRENTS Article The blah-blah letter has been a tried and true fundraising appeal for young alumni. But a recent backlash might be the signal of its demise.

Advance Work: Taboo Test
CURRENTS Article One U.K. charity's research showed that mentioning the down economy in direct mail pieces lead to smaller gifts from top donors.

Fundraising Publications Packages: National Cathedral School - Bronze Medal
Best Practice The "It All Adds Up" package marketed the National Cathedral School's 2006 $1.4 million annual fund campaign.

Write-Minded: Proceed with Caution
CURRENTS Article The author offers advice on approaching faculty most effectively via a solicitation letter.

Is Direct Mail Dead?
CURRENTS Article The authors present direct mail samples from various higher education institutions to demonstrate that the art of direct mail solicitation has not gone by the wayside. Samples from Northern Arizona University, Georgetown University, Kansas University, and Grinnell College comprise a few of the 10 institutions included.

Put Your Direct Mail to the Test
CURRENTS Article The author examines issues surrounding direct mail analysis and testing of direct mail returns. Five factors of direct mail response, including copy, timing, package, the offer, and the list are presented. Each of these factors effect the outcome and level of success for individual direct mail campaigns. Next, the author presents a recipe for how to perform a successful test of direct mail response. The steps are as follows: 1) form a hypothesis; 2) test only one variable at a time; 3) choose the test and control groups; 4) decide on a sample size; 5) document the test; 6) send the actual mailing, wait for the response, and compare the results; and 7) repeat the process again. A sidebar article looks at the top 10 direct mail myths. Myths include: a two-percent response rate is good, the best time to mail is the end of the year, and postcards draw better than letters.

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