Is Direct Mail Fund Raising For Me?
Is Direct Mail Fund Raising For Me?
Just about every political campaign in America relies on direct mail as its
primary source of fund raising. To learn why, see our Unique Advantages
of Direct Mail page.
While every political campaign needs some form of direct mail program, our
agency might not be the best fit for everyone. However, if you can answer
the following questions with a loud and resounding “yes!” then
Eberle Associates is the agency for you.
Does your candidate offer something different from the other
contenders? Does it make a difference who wins? In order to successfully
raise funds in the mail, your candidate has to provide a clear alternative
Does your candidate take strong stands on emotional or controversial
issues? If your candidate’s prime focus is the extermination of
the pine beetle, it will be hard to motivate potential donors to write a check
to your campaign. However, if your candidate takes a strong position
on immigration, abortion, government spending, taxes, etc. then it will be
much easier to excite potential donors.
Does your candidate have – or seek to obtain – a
national profile? This can be obtained in a number of ways: challenging
an entrenched career politician; running for office in a large state like California
or Texas; taking principled stances on controversial issues. Can your
candidate convince a conservative donor thousands of miles away to make a donation?
Is it credible that your candidate can actually have success
in running for office? Does he or she have a track record of success or at
least a plan of action that is believable to the prospective donor? No donor
wants to give his hard-earned dollars to tilt at windmills. Donors want to
solve problems and you must be able to convince them that your candidate can
indeed solve the problems the nation is facing.
Do you have the patience and time needed to let the direct
mail fund raising process succeed? Direct mail can provide a solid funding
base for a foundation, organization, or candidate, but it takes time to work.
Direct mail is not an instant money machine. A donor file must be built first,
and that takes time: maybe six to nine months. Patience is required as funds
are first plowed back into building the donor base, not your projects and programs.
There are exceptions when net revenue is generated early, but plan on the rule,
not the exception. If you are impatient, or unwilling to let the process work
itself out, then perhaps you should consider a different plan of action.
Are you aware of just how costly direct mail fund raising is?
No, it's not the professional fees that, when calculated, typically amount
to about 10% of all costs. It's the printing, envelopes, lettershop services,
lists, and especially the postage that makes direct mail fund raising expensive.
It's because of these costs that it takes time to realize net income from your
direct mail fund raising program. Even if your answer to this question was “yes,” you
need to proceed with your eyes wide open.
Are you prepared to stand back and let us do our job? Are you
willing to limit your input to matters of factual research, candidate policy
and law? Are you willing to use "command response" techniques that
have a track record of success? Are you willing to sign off on fund appeals
that contain words, grammar and sentence structure that differ from your personal
taste? Are you prepared to resist the urge to make copy changes just for the
sake of putting your personal mark on the fund appeal? You had better answer
with a loud yes if you want your fund appeals to work. Unless your appeals
use techniques that "command" a response and unless they use emotional, "now-or-never" phrases
constructed from simple, everyday words, don't expect them to succeed. It's
not going to happen.
Are you prepared to make a personal commitment to making the
fund raising effort a success? This is perhaps the most important question
of all. Signers, testimonials, case studies, and research are all your responsibility.
If you're not prepared to put the time and effort into making the program work,
maybe you had better re-think using direct mail to raise funds.
So what's your verdict? Yes or No?
If you were able to answer all of the above eight questions with an emphatic “yes,” then
perhaps your campaign is one of the select few that could see success with
A “yes” to these critical eight questions may mean it's time to Contact
Us. We'll be glad to tell you if we agree with your evaluation of your
direct mail fund raising potential. Or you can apply for a low-risk test mailing.
On the other hand, you may now be wondering why you should use direct mail
to raise funds for your campaign. If that's the case, take just a moment to
read about the Unique Advantages of
direct mail fund raising.
And you may want to check out 5 Things
Wrong, 5 Things Right with direct mail fund raising. It's always better
to look before you leap.