One simple, innovative direct mail fundraising idea

By James Mulvey

Last week, our office received a very powerful fundraising postcard in the mail. 

Take a look:

innovative fundraising direct mail sample


The copy reads: Make one gift now and we’ll never ask for another donation again.

The letter asks for a donation to help children born with cleft lips and palates. It’s a powerful image, great cause, and incredibly smart marketing. But what makes this fundraising piece effective isn’t the strength of the picture or the emotional appeal for funds. 

The effectiveness of this fundraising campaign is that it answers a major objection in the reader’s mind: if the reader gives to the charity, will they then get spammed with monthly donation requests?

Because, as our recent fundraising research report shows, the frequency and tone of fundraising letters often determine their success. In fact, our research report shows that the frequency of fundraising requests remains one of the most common barriers preventing people from giving more to non-profits.

The most frequent issue identified was the tone of the requests (reported by 43% of those who indicated that they did not like how requests were made). About a quarter (24%) indicated that they did not like the frequency or volume of requests from organizations and 15% did not like receiving multiple requests from the same organization.

 From: Motivate and Convince: The Most Effective Tactics for Attracting Donors and Volunteers

In the ‘Make One Gift’ fundraising piece, the letter makes a simple promise: “if you accept our invitation to make one gift today to save one’s child’s life, we’ll never ask you for another donation again.”
Clearly, the writer and charity know that how and when you ask for donations matters.

The result?

We donated!

And so did many, many others. According to the charity, the direct mail piece has been so successful that it is now used in all of the charity's mailings and the appeal is a “significant improvement” over the charity’s previous approach to winning new donors.

innovative direct mail fundraising

To find out other common barriers preventing donors from giving download our free fundraising research report (see below). 

In the report, you'll find:

  • Research on approaching business leaders, corporations, and foundations for support.
  • Research and actionable insights on the most effective fundraising tactics.
  • Research on donor motivations and psychology.
  • Research and tactics on attracting and retaining volunteers.
  • Analytical commentary, tables, and graphs.

Get your free report (instant download)


About Redbird Communications

Redbird Communications is a marketing communications agency in Victoria, British Columbia, that works with non-profits, social enterprises, government ministries and other private and public-sector organizations.

Founded in 2001, we provide research, strategic planning, creative services, and public relations to clients in BC, Ontario, and beyond. Redbird has developed province-wide awareness campaigns, including our most recent ‘Signs of Stroke’ campaign for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon. For that campaign, we helped to raise $250,000 from pharmaceutical sponsors to fund the media buy, and created TV and radio spots, print collateral, and online advertising.

For more resources, tips, and strategic advice follow us on Twitter (@Redbirdcomms).