Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Background and other material for a Direct Mail Campaign

Background and other material for a Direct Mail Campaign

An effective direct mail campaign is more than simply the main letter or document.

Whilst the main letter is probably the most important thing in a direct mail-out, a certain amount of background or other material is vital to its success.

The importance of including some properly prepared and assembled background material cannot be under-estimated.

This extra material should complement your organisation's main letter and add to the pitch and feel of your direct mail-out campaign.


Examples of background material

Here we list some material you might include in your next mail-out.  Of course not all of these suggestions will be appropriate to your organisation so unless you have a limitless budget it is better to stick to material that is the most relevant and integrates best with your case for support.

Think about the type of information that would be most likely to get your target audience to react to your call to action.
  • Background information about your group.
This allows the targets of your direct mail-out to learn more about your group and tells why they should act on your letter.

The information should aim to present short, sharp, bite-size pieces of information about your organisation, what it does, who it works with (and for), previous successes and the road ahead.

It can be presented in a number of different ways, including:
  • A general brochure detailing your group's ongoing work, successes, news and other bits and pieces.
  • A fact sheet talking about your latest work and achievements or outlining in greater detail the project for which you are currently seeking support.
When including this type of material, make sure it is relevant and that it gels with any branding (or re-branding) work you have done.  It is important that you promote a consistent brand and image to the target audience of your mail-out.
For more information on branding, refer to the first of the two-part Branding for Community Groups help sheets by Clicking Here.
  • A copy of your group's current newsletter.
This can be a great way to show the diversity of your work as well as your group's achievements and the level of corporate and public support you enjoy.

As your direct mail-out reaches a wide audience you may also find existing sponsors or corporate supporters willing to advertise their goods and services in your newsletter
  • News clippings or relevant recent articles.
If your group has featured in a newspaper, magazine article or photograph it is well worth including a copy of it as background information.

Types of articles could be:
  • Articles demonstrating your achievements.  Whether you are a charity helping the homeless or a local sporting club winning the flag it helps to put a human face on the issue.
  • Background articles or features on the wider problem, challenge, or issue your group is trying to meet.
  • A general feature about your organisation and its work.
  • A profile of your president, Chair or CEO that provides an insight into your group's work.
The idea behind including this type of information is to give your mail-out targets a clearer understanding of what you do and the cause or project you support.  It also adds strength to the reason behind your direct mail-out, be it membership, sponsorship, awareness raising or a donations request.
  • The transcript of a recent speech.
    • This is particularly relevant if the speech is related to the launch of a campaign and is the primary focus of your mail-out.
  • A copy of your group's annual report
    • This can be a bit costly if going to a great number of people. An alternative is to include a summary of your annual report.
  • Some testimonials or references.
    • It could be a letter from a happy beneficiary of your organisation detailing how you assisted.
    • It could be a one-page flyer including short, sharp "quotes" on a separate sheet included with the mail-out.
    • The best testimonials make powerful arguments and should be incorporated in the main letter or mail piece.
  • A potted biography.
    • A "backgrounder" or article on your organisation, its president or chief can lend further legitimacy and credibility to what you do, particularly if your president or chief is well known or high profile.
  • A flyer advertising your next big event.
    • Sometimes people will know or relate to an event rather than the group that runs it. This can bring added kudos to your pitch (and serve as a free ad).
  • An information booklet on bequests
    • Some of the bigger groups are getting more sophisticated in letting supporters know of other ways, including bequests, where they can assist the group to continue its work.
  • A donation form
    • Most letters seeking donations should have a form attached.  However, if your mail-out is not seeking donations, it still doesn't hurt to include a form. If they are motivated by your main call to action they may well be motivated to give financial support.



Examples of Other Material

Apart from background material, your direct mail-out may need to include other accompanying material or information gaining devices.

Accompanying material
is anything which is necessary to make your mail-out a success and includes:
  • Raffle tickets
  • Invitations to the function you are direct mailing about
  • Membership forms – even if your group is not specifically on a membership drive
  • Reply paid envelopes for return of membership applications/renewals, or donations.
Information gathering tools include:
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Other devices that are aimed at gaining information from those you have direct mailed – invitations for comments, for example.



The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.