Fundraising postcards are an effective, inexpensive way to stay in touch with your supporters. These 12 fundraising postcard ideas show different ways that your non-profit can use postcards to get your message out, demonstrate a need, ask for help, and show how their donations have changed the world.
There’s a reason why businesses use postcard mailers… Because they work!
Using fundraising postcards is an excellent use of direct mail because there is nothing to open plus your message will be handled and viewed by an adult at every address. Compare that with fundraising letters where you have to really work hard on the envelope just to get your letter opened, plus the cost of production and mailing is much higher.
Consider the cost of running newspaper ads or buying clicks online to get traffic to your website or likes on your Facebook page. Clearly, fundraising postcards are a hands down winner in cost effective communication, outperforming even email at simple – yet vitally important – tasks.
12 Fundraising Postcard Ideas
- Staying In Touch
- Give A Progress Report
- Saying Thank You
- Demonstrating A Need
- Asking For Help
- Showcasing Your Success
- Sending Reminders
- Promoting Your Events
- Introducing Your Cause
- Raising Friends
- Prompting Year End Donations
- Providing Contact Info & Links
Staying In Touch
Donations are the lifeblood of every non-profit organization, so staying in touch is vital to retaining donors. The average non-profit loses 70% of its first-time donors and 30% of its repeat donors every year. Acquiring new donors is expensive, so it makes sense to do your best to wow your donors with how well you used their donation to make a positive change in your community or the world around us.
Many nonprofits use monthly newsletters or emails to stay in touch, but how many of those get real eyeballs on their message? And how many groups find the cost of mailing a monthly update prohibitively expensive?
So, it’s a good idea to use fundraising postcards to put your message in front of your supporters each month. You don’t need to ask for donations. That’s the job of your appeal letters and the year-end ask.
What you want is mind share, pure and simple. And the best way to do that is to put a colorful message and great image in their hands on a monthly basis.
Give A Progress Report
Another great idea for a fundraising postcard is to provide a progress report. It doesn’t have to be monthly, but delivering a quarterly recap is quite valuable. You are reminding your supporters of the good work that you do and showing the progress you’ve made so far this year.
Donors want to know their donation is being put to good use and this is an easy way to deliver an update, one that isn’t asking them for yet another donation. Pictures are truly worth a thousand words and they take much less time to get your message across.
Show results in the form of one example of a life made better by your work. Then add some additional data reminding your donors that it only costs “x amount of dollars” to effect this one change.
Saying Thank You
Non-profits cannot say “Thank You” to their donors often enough. Why not use a postcard for saying “Thanks To You…” at least once a year?
Example: “Thanks To You… 47 families left homeless by flooding have a place to live” superimposed over a photo of a home crumbling as flood waters erode its foundation and a family watches helplessly as everything they own is lost forever.
Providing a powerful visual of someone clearly in need of assistance along with a message thanking your donor for their help is an emotional reward for giving back to their community.
Another way to use fundraising postcards to say thank you is to send a handwritten message to a new donor on a Thank You For Your Support card. Send it immediately after receiving a donation because its a quick and easy way to say thanks.
Demonstrating A Need
Just like a thank you card can use powerful visuals to trigger an emotional response, a picture demonstrating a real need that your non-profit addresses is a good method for reinforcing the importance of your cause.
There are many ways to add extra meaning to the image you use on your postcard. One of the best is to show just how great the need is and how small a percentage of that need is being addressed due to funding constraints.
Again, you are not doing a direct “ask” for donations. What you are doing is communicating a need and demonstrating just how large that need is compared to what your group is currently doing today.
Asking For Help
Postcards aren’t an effective way of asking for donations, but they can motivate people to give both time and money. Get people involved with your non-profit by asking for help by volunteering or by supporting your cause.
Use a picture on your postcard that shows volunteers lending a helping hand. Closeups work better than group shots and a one-on-one interaction works best of all.
To prompt donations, explain that the need your non-profit addresses can be aided by money as well as time. You want a short tagline for the photo that clearly spells out whats needed.
Example: A fundraising postcard from a Rescue Mission can show a closeup photo of volunteer handing a Thanksgiving meal to a homeless child. The tagline says “Your $1 feeds a child 3 meals…” The fact that the volunteers will be gone then is inferred, but not stated. A note on the back can say: “To a hungry child, every meal is priceless.”
Note: Always provide full contact information on the back of the postcard (see #12).
Showcasing Your Success
Postcards are an easy way to showcase your best work and show donors some successes for your cause. They may be small successes, but there is always something worth celebrating.
Use positive images rather than negative. If you do have to show a negative image (pain, suffering, etc.), then use a Before/After image merge to highlight the success. Again, you are not using this postcard mailing to ask for donations, you are doing it to communicate success to your donors. That communication greatly helps your response rate and your donor retention rate.
It doesn’t need to be a “Thank You” mailing, but it’s always a good idea to use a phrase like “Thanks to your donations, we were able to…”. Always use the word “your” because it’s personal then and that resonates with people, providing emotional justification for future giving.
Fundraising postcards are a great way to send reminders to your supporters about important ongoing projects, upcoming needs, and generally just staying in contact on a regular basis. Its a much less expensive way of staying in touch than mailing letters or sending out newsletters.
By reminding people each month of the work you are doing and the future activities you have planned, you’ll be getting a much better return on your appeal letters because you’ve stayed in the forefront. If people don’t hear from you except when you are asking for donations, then they are much less likely to donate again.
Promoting Your Events
Mailing postcards is an effective way to promote your charity events as well. You can do a “Save The Date” postcard announcing an event several months ahead of time and build on the excitement with followup mailings of either more postcards, newsletters or appeal letters.
You can highlight exclusive live auction items such as unique experiences, once-in-a-lifetime trips, and other crowd pleasers. Use a call to action involving scarcity to sell out your best tables.
Tie the mailing in with your website event page and your online ticket sales. The more you do to jump start the ticket sales and build excitement around your charity gala, the more funds you’ll raise.
Use attention getting visuals and get a graphic designer to do an elegant event poster. One mailing can recap last year’s gala with a thank you for your support theme. Another postcard mailing can use the poster as long as the design is suitable for an over-sized postcard. The final mailing should use a “Don’t Miss Out” theme reminding people to take action now.
Introducing Your Cause
You can also use postcards to introduce your non-profit to potential new supporters. One good way to do that is by renting a mailing list from a broker of like-minded donors who have given to other similar causes.
As mentioned previously, the cost is much lower than both online and offline advertising. And, by using a qualified list from a broker you can target people who are more likely to make a donation, become a supporter, or volunteer to help in some other fashion.
Local non-profits can also use a mailing list shared by another nearby group or they can inexpensively use postcards as a bulk mailing by targeting certain income ranges and other demographics. It’s all about getting your message in front of as many prospects as possible with the most effective spending.
Just like using postcards to introduce your cause to new prospects, you can use a postcard mailing to “friend raise” and not fund raise. Consider asking your best supporters for the names of a few friends to whom you could mail a postcard.
Show them the postcard and explain that you are forming a “Friends Committee” of your most important benefactors and that you would like their permission to include them on the short list. Your “friend raising” postcard should have a get together theme and invite the referrals to join in a fun group activity.
The friend raising activity can be a golf outing, a cocktail party, a dinner cruise, or something casual like a shrimp boil. It’s all about having a good time with people and making new friends. It’s definitely NOT about asking for donations.
What you want to do is informally invite people, do the “meet and greet” and then have some fun together.
Prompting Year End Donations
The year-end ask doesn’t have to be done only through an appeal letter. You can also use a fundraising postcard as a preliminary prompt for end-of-year giving and to lay the groundwork for a higher success rate.
The whole point is to get some mind share before doing the ask. Three months ahead, you can start mentioning your year-end drive through a long-term social media content roll out.
Two months before year-end, mail out a fundraising postcard that doesn’t ask for money. Use it to set the stage by announcing your year-end fund drive while recapping your accomplishments in factual terms.
Your image should convey a feeling of hard work and progress, but one of an ongoing need. The work is progressing, but the problem we’re addressing is growing by “X% rate” and that’s why we’ll be making a big year end push to secure funding to meet the growing need.
Providing Contact Info & Links
Use the back of the postcard to provide all your contact information. The best way is to use a large font (print size) and group it all together on the upper left side.
You want your group name to be very prominent and easy to read. Include your phone number and mailing address because some people like to talk to someone and other people like to mail donations.
And others do everything online, including following you, liking you , tweeting about you, pinning your images, reading your articles, discovering more about the good work you do, etc. So, it’s extremely important to also publish all your online information in one easy to read vertical list.
If desired, you can include the social media icons to the left for quick visual recognition. Help people out by capitalizing certain letters.
Here’s what your online presence should look like if you’ve branded your nonprofit correctly on social media:
By branding your group properly on social media and reinforcing it with a URL list on your fundraising postcards, you make it easier for people to find you online and connect with your non-profit. And, once they’re online, you have many ways of asking for donations both immediately and down the line.
In fact, your website should have a prominently placed Donate button on the upper left that let’s people complete a donation in a single page and then redirects them to an appropriate thank you page.
But, that’s a whole ‘nother article right there, so I hope you enjoyed looking at these 12 different ideas for fundraising postcards. Start putting them to work for your non-profit today!