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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.

Question 1.
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 for voters.
Question 2.
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.
Question 3.
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?
Question 4.
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.
Question 5.
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.
Question 6.
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.
Question 7.
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.
Question 8.
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 Eberle Associates.

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.