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  Fundraising Direct Mail Lists: How List Brokers Can Help Potpourri

Canadian FundRaiserDIRECT MAIL - Alan Sharpe
Fundraising mailing lists: how list brokers can help


Last time I checked, there were 25,000 response lists and 50,000 compiled lists currently on the market. Among all of these lists, you'll find hundreds that work for fundraising appeals. Actually, you likely won’t find them. Locating the best names for your mailing is complicated and best left to an experienced list broker.

A list broker is a specialist who researches and recommends lists for you, and manages all the paperwork and other details of renting the list.

An experienced list broker helps you find new lists, identifies profitable segments on unlikely lists, helps you create a matrix for testing your mailing against other lists, negotiates the best prices for you with the list owner, recommends other media (such as eMail) to consider testing, makes sure the list gets to your lettershop on time, helps you evaluate your response rates, gift income and other results, and manages invoicing for lists you rent.

Typical list rental transaction

1. You phone a list broker that specializes in the nonprofit sector

2. You describe your organization’s mission, including what you do and who you help

3. You describe your ideal donor (such as “female, 55 years old, married, owns home, $150,000 household income, cares about animal welfare, lives in Canada and responds to direct mail fundraising appeals from animal rights organizations”)

4. You eMail the list broker a PDF sample of the direct mail package that you are going to mail to the list, and the list broker forwards it to the list owner

5. The list owner reviews and approves your package

6. You tell the list broker the following: a. the selects you want, if any*; b. how many names you want to order; c. when you will mail your piece; d. when you need to receive the names; e. where you want the names to be sent (your lettershop, usually)

7. The list broker prepares your list and sends it to your lettershop or service bureau

8. Your lettershop keys your reply device and other components so you can track the results of this mailing back to this list

9. You mail your package to the names on the list

10. You process each donation you receive, adding the names to your database (they are yours to keep), and flagging each new donor record to note the package and list used to acquire the donor

* A select is a process that the list broker conducts on your behalf to choose only some names from the entire list. You might ask the broker to select names from a particular postal code, for example, and only rent you those names.

Mailing list brokers know the industry. The firms they work for have researched and tested thousands of lists. So working with a qualified mailing list broker is vital.

For further information: Alan Sharpe, President, Raiser Sharpe, 38 Wethered St., London ON N5Y 1G9, 877/742-7732, alan@sharpecopy.com, www.raisersharpe.com.

 
Canadian FundRaiser
Canadian FundRaiserSince 1991, the Canadian FundRaiser™ newsletter has been updating nonprofit managers twice-monthly on news, trends, tips and analysis of developments in the fields of fundraising and nonprofit management.

Our service, originally simply a twice-monthly newsletter, has expanded over the years to include workshops, books, back-issue search and Special Advisories for our member/subscribers. And the complete package is now the Canadian FundRaiser™ Nonprofit Sector Management Information Service.

Current Members can search back issues here, renew their Membership, or correct their address information in our secure files.

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Please take a look at the current issue of Canadian FundRaiser™ eNews, and if you haven’t done so already, sign up ­ at no cost ­ to receive future issues. Visit our Key-To-The-Sector Workshop Centre. Ask about Advertising & Sponsorship opportunities. Or send us an article suggestion. We’re waiting to hear from you.

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