4 Ways to Elevate Your Fundraising Appeals

Nonprofit organizations have long relied on donations from their supporters and the general public to raise money for special initiatives and everyday operating expenses. Over the years, the act of asking the public has evolved into an art form, with some savvy organizations incorporating multichannel marketing efforts into their fundraising campaigns.

Your fundraising efforts don’t have to be a simple, standard white #10 envelope containing a letter with a tear-off and return envelope. While those basic campaigns have their place, if you’re seeking to find ways to truly make an impression on your audience, you need to try something different.

So what are some ways that you can elevate your fundraising campaigns? Let’s dive in.

Die Cut Pieces

Think about the mail you receive daily. Most of it is rectangular in shape, whether it’s in an envelope or as a postcard. But what happens when you receive a piece that’s another shape? It catches your attention and draws you in.

That’s what a die-cut piece can offer. You can work to have a custom shape created so that your appeal takes the form of another object. Suppose you’re raising funds for the arts; a piece in the shape of a musical instrument immediately conveys to the recipient what it’s for. Or if you’re raising money for a new building; including that building’s silhouette as the outline of your appeal signals the intent of the campaign before a single word is read.

A die-cut appeal doesn’t have to be the full piece, though. You can use this technique to remove pieces of a standard rectangular appeal. Having a section of the page missing from a piece or having the mailing cut at a unique angle is also another way to grab the attention of your audience.

It’s important to note, however, that a die-cut piece does require an envelope to provide a standard size for mailing purposes.

Know Your Audience

Your mailing is only as effective as the list you’re sending to. Even the most creative and compelling piece will tank if it’s not sent to the proper audience who will respond to your messaging.

As part of understanding your audience, there are several key elements to consider:

  • Past giving history. You’re more likely to get repeat donations from those who have already supported your organization.
  • Use variable data. It’s a simple concept, but the idea of personalizing elements like an individual’s name goes a long way in making an emotional connection. Similarly, you can use a past donor’s giving history to determine what an appropriate dollar figure to ask for might be.
  • Compelling images. An appeal to emotion is often highly successful at driving responses. Consider for an animal shelter; is an image of a puppy in need of care going to be more effective than an exterior image of the facility?


A creative way to deliver a piece is to create a self-mailer, a piece that folds in on itself in a way that the mailing itself is both the appeal and the envelope. The folded flaps can then be sealed, either with an adhesive tab or glue spots.

These pieces offer more visual appeal than using a window envelope. Self-mailers also offer the sender more options for creativity with compelling copy and images on the appeal itself.

A Mailing That’s Not A Mailing

A mailing is a static piece that offers a snapshot in time to your audience. But what if you could use a mailing to drive traffic to something more interactive?

You can use specialty URLs or QR codes on your mailing to send your audience to a specific landing page on your website. Once there, the possibilities are endless. You can show visitors a video showing the impact of the donor’s gift on real individuals, or provide an interactive breakdown of the ways their gift would be used.

In addition, you can use these links on your appeal to solicit donations immediately online. Recent data shows a preference for making donations online exists among all generation groups. Making one’s gift online solves the need for the donor having to write out a check or locate a stamp, and ensures the transaction is made at the point of greatest impact on the donor.

Work With Your Vendor

Associates International has plenty of examples of interesting and successful fundraising appeals that you can use for inspiration for your nonprofit. By also offering a full range of digital marketing solutions under one roof, we can help your organization increase its fundraising efficiency. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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