Spot Potential Direct Mail Donors Using the 3 Cs of Fundraising Acquisition Letters

Alan Sharpe

Visitors: 189

What does an ideal new direct mail donor look like? How can you spot one in a crowd? Or in a list of potential donors? Look for the 3 Cs.


The most important measure is a potential donor’s capacity to give. Some development officers trip here, concentrating their energy on wealthy donors. But in direct mail fundraising, the majority of gifts are small. Donors don’t have to be wealthy, just willing. That’s the beauty of appealing for funds through the mail.

So look for people who are able to give the size of gift you want. Some apparently wealthy people have zero disposable income. And some apparently poor people (and some actually poor people) have disposable income. So the first criteria to look for is not how much money a potential donor has, but whether the person is able to give away what they have, preferably to you, of course.


The second criteria to look for in potential donors is their level of connection with your organization. Every potential donor fits in here somewhere on a scale of 1 to 10. At the high end you have the nice folks who sit on your board of directors. They are 10s. At the other end of the scale you have the strangers who know nothing about who you are or what you do or who you help or where you operate. They are 1s. In the middle you have clients (the people you serve), volunteers and vendors.


Finally, you measure all potential supporters by their level of commitment to your cause. You can measure commitment by the amount of money that potential donors give to similar organizations. Or the length of time they have supported similar initiatives. Or the frequency of their donations (assuming you can discover such things). Or their level or length of volunteer service.

An ideal new direct mail donor will be able to give, have a strong connection with your organization, and feel committed to supporting you. Some potential donors have the capacity to give but don’t know you. Others know you but are not committed. Whenever you can find people who meet all three criteria, you will be blessed. And so will they.

About the author
Alan Sharpe is president of Raiser Sharpe, a full-service direct mail fundraising agency that helps non-profit organizations raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors. Sign up for free weekly tips like this, and discover other helpful resources, at


Article Source:

Rate this Article: 
Avoid Formula Approach When Asking Businesses for Gifts With Direct Mail ..
Rated 4 / 5
based on 5 votes

Related Articles:

Fundraising Letters - Are You Too Small for Direct Mail Donor Acquisition?

by: Alan Sharpe (April 13, 2007) 

Direct Mail Donor Acquisition - How to Ask For the Right Amount With Prospect ..

by: Alan Sharpe (August 15, 2008) 

Why Donor Acquisition Fundraising Letters Are Longer Than Donation Request ..

by: Alan Sharpe (November 10, 2006) 

Donor Acquisition Fundraising Letters: Five Tips For Attracting New Donors And ..

by: Alan Sharpe (January 04, 2006) 
(Business/Marketing Direct)

Need New Direct Mail Donors? Look For These Three Qualities For Fundraising ..

by: Alan Sharpe (November 25, 2005) 
(Business/Marketing Direct)

Look For Connection, Not Cash, in Prospective Direct Mail Donors If Writing ..

by: Alan Sharpe (June 27, 2008) 

Mistakes Committed in Direct Mail for Non Profits Fundraising Letters

by: Bruce Markey (October 01, 2015) 

Make Your Direct Mail Fundraising Appeal Letters More Friendly With Informal ..

by: Alan Sharpe (April 03, 2007) 

Direct Mail Fundraising - Your Competitor in Donation Request Letters is ..

by: Alan Sharpe (June 08, 2007) 

Avoid Formula Approach When Asking Businesses for Gifts With Direct Mail ..

by: Alan Sharpe (March 23, 2007)