News & Articles

So really, how often should you mail a donor?

If there was one quick answer, we wouldn’t need to write a whole article about it. Because the truth is it’s different for every non-profit.

But as most fundraisers agree … more is usually more (provided of course your communications are hopeful, inspiring and relevant).

This is what some of our leading fundraising experts have to say about how many times you should mail your donors:

Canadian fundraiser Alan Sharpe says at least eight times a year:

“Mail at least four appeal letters and mail at least four newsletters

(or donor cultivation, donor information type pieces).”

Tom Ahern, donor communications expert says 21 times a year:

“In focus groups, veteran donors complain long and loud about being over-solicited

by their favourite charities. But if you watch their giving behaviour,

you will find they don’t stop giving as a result.”

Future Fundraising Now’s Jeff Brooks says at least 20 times a year:

“Most of the organisations I work with send 12-18 appeal letters a year,

plus three to six newsletters. A few do more than that.

If you’re communicating with donors much less than this, you’re probably not maximising your fundraising, and all your metrics, from net revenue to donor retention, are likely not where they could be.”

What is right? Lots and lots of testing

There’s no correct answer to the question of ‘how often should you mail?’ What works for your charity may not work for another.

There is only one way to find out the effectiveness of your communications program – and that’s to test it. And it’s great to test it in that critical first year when most of your donors will leave you after their first gift – even if you are communicating well.

Creating a pilot program – one that tests your journeys across different channels and measures lifetime value and retention rate – is the only way you will ever truly be able to answer the big question of, ‘how much should you mail?’

By using data and insights – not instinct – you will be able to make the best decisions for your charity.

Comments are closed.