A Mailbox Full of Noise

You are entering the last quarter of the calendar year and your annual fund campaign is just revving up. Reviewing your tactical plan, you prepare to send a direct mail piece to every current and past donor since 1915, along with some other prospects who might respond to a “now’s the time” mailer. Warning! If you haven’t put those wheels into motion yet, RSC says, “Get it going or prepare to wait.”  Those mailboxes are about to fill up with red, white and blue solicitations and there won’t be much room left in your patrons’ mailboxes.

There's a tree in my mailbox!

You know this because you've seen it firsthand.  Every four years the national political environment pumps out so much mail that it can’t be ignored – and the frequency between mailings of postcards, letters and gift envelopes gets shorter and shorter as Election Day draws near. 

So how do other non-profits compete and rise above the noise of political mailings? RSC says, “Don’t compete.  There’s a better way.”

Nobody makes noise better or more loudly than politicians – and the more mail in the box, the noisier it gets.  So don’t even try and compete.  Your organization, no matter how blustery, will have a tough time being heard.  So instead of having your mailings get drowned out by the political noise, simply rise above it with a better plan.  Below are some tips that will pull you through the impending saturation of political noise this fall.

1) TIME YOUR MESSAGE. REALLY frontload your campaign…beat those political mailings to the box. If you haven’t already done so, get your solicitations in the mail ASAP, with your cutoff being October 15 at the absolute latest. After that, you’d better wait until the second week of November to send any mailings.

2) BE POSITIVE. The Post Office will soon be flooded with pushing out political mailings and sadly many of the messages will be real downers. For sure, negative messages make for negative patrons.  But hey, you work for an arts organization – upbeat, community-focused, highly-valued and worthy of support!  So, keep your messages positive, never emulating the thick, bitter sludge you might see from political mailings. Re-emphasize your organization’s importance, relevance and partnership with the communities it serves. And always steer clear of mentioning the election – doing otherwise will make your organization’s letter just part of the noise.

3) WORK ON RELATIONSHIPS. During the last quarter of the year there are fundraising priorities that have nothing to do with direct mail.  During your self-imposed “no mail” period, focus on cultivating relationships, working on sponsorships, stewarding donors or securing that next challenge grant.

Through balance and timing, your annual fund campaign will navigate the disruptions of the election challenge. Use your energy and resources well and don’t compete with the noise. Work smart and rise above it.

If you would like to learn more about how RSC successfully helps arts and cultural organizations reach their fundraising goals, call us today at 317.300.4443 or visit our website.

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