3 Ways to Know When to Bring Your Donations Appeal In-House

by Caroline Behe, Account Manager, and Keith Williams, Account Manager

Getting ready to plan your next fundraising appeal and looking to save some costs? With mailing lists totaling in the thousands, it can be quite daunting to think about printing, stuffing, and mailing out your appeal letters from your office. But, at the same time, the cost savings could be a real boon.

So how do you know when it’s time to do your appeal in-house and how do you know when to stick with your third-party creative design and print team?

Before you bring your appeal in-house, consider the following:

  • You must have the internal resources – both the creative and technical experience – to create and execute the appeal in-house.
  • The physical cost savings may be there, but did you factor the investment of staff time? Also consider that sometimes managing a third-party can be as time consuming as doing it yourself.

If you have determined that you have the internal resources and staff time to bring the appeal process in-house, then consider the following:

  • The costs of hiring a professional communications company may not be justified. We sometimes do what we have done because we have always done it that way. Analyze the ROI. After looking at the numbers more closely, we came to understand that we were spending too much compared to what we were taking in. We were able to decrease costs by 2/3 and increase total donations by 45% by managing the appeal in-house.
  • The ability to target letters, e-mails, and social media to make the message more personal may be easier than working through a third-party. We were nimbler with our messages as we were able to be responsive to what we saw happening in real time. For example, if you see your social media posts creating more donations, you can quickly purchase more Facebook ads or post more on your preferred social media platforms.
  • Adding a personal touch is easier. Each letter touched the hands of our staff which means the Executive Director personally signed each letter. When needed, a letter also included a handwritten note.

There is so much to consider when doing an appeal. You have a limited number of times you can contact your donors for financial support so you want each of those times to be their best.  You should look at each appeal letter opportunity to see what works best at that point in time for you. Don’t shy away from your own internal skills and abilities! 

If you’d like assistance with your donations appeals, IMI Association Executives can help! Our expert staff will assist you with everything you need to run a successful campaign. Contact us today.

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