Recently, a fabulous newsletter subscriber from Tasmania wrote to me, (Hi Carmen!) and asked me how she could improve her direct mail results.

To this I say, everyone has a different key to unlock their hearts.

Phil Cubeta, a teacher of philanthropy at American University in Pennsylvania, asks donors, “Aside from your family, what do you care about?”

How do you find the key to more support?

If your mailings aren’t performing as you want them to, perhaps you could try these three simple steps.

1. Go to your email database and your mailing database, and see if you can link names to email addresses, if this is not already done.

2. Send out a surveymonkey survey via email (they are free) and ask people on your email list to fill it out (Call it a 1 minute survey)

In your survey, ask people why they give. Give them these choices:

“Does it make business sense to give to your organization, because it saves money in local taxes?

Do people give because it feels good?

Do people give because they like to socialize with friends who also care about your nonprofit?

Do your donors give because they feel it is important to the community?

Do your donors give because they want to GIVE BACK to your organization for helping their friends or relative or themselves?

Do your donors give because their family has a tradition of giving?

Do your donors give because it is important to their faith?

Once you get even 20 responses to these questions, you can start to tailor your appeal letters to people’s specific reasons for giving, and you’ll notice your direct mail have more of the effect you want. (BTW, these 7 questions come from my interpretation of “The Seven Faces of Philanthropy,” and are ALSO outlined in my book, The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising, which you should TOTALLY buy, because it’s mega-useful, and also, gives you a direct mail template on a CD that you can just put into your CD drive and begin tailoring for YOUR charity!)

3. So in order to keep track of which donors are which, you need to be able to make a note in your database about their reason for giving.

If you can’t do that, parse out respondents into a spreadsheet, with each tab being the different kinds of donors.

You may already be able to think of someone right now that you know that fits into one of these categories.

So often, as fundraisers, we can assume that people are going to be just like us, so we will just make the letter that will appeal to us.

In fact, people have MANY reasons for giving, and when you reach out, you’ll find that these people are just waiting to be asked the right way.

What has been your experience with direct mail?

How would YOU tell someone to do it?

I’d love to hear your ideas below!

Follow @WildWomanFund on Twitter! Because 1,500 followers can’t be wrong!

Have you taken my 2 minute survey yet? NO??? Hmmmm. Perhaps you should.