Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Why are you direct mailing?

Why are you direct mailing?

A key question your group needs to be able to answer when planning a direct mail-out is "Why are we doing a direct mail in the first place?"

There numerous reasons why your group could be direct mailing, but you have to be able to focus quickly and easily on what message you are trying to get out and the response you wish to elicit if the mail-out is going to be a success.

Be clear on the aim or aims of your mail-out and be able to communicate it.

For example:
  • "We're selling raffle tickets for our club's annual fundraiser, with the money raised going towards new equipment."
  • "We're mailing out to lapsed members, people who didn't buy a membership in the past year or two, to try to get them interested in joining up again."
  • "We're trying to raise awareness of a cause we support, and in doing so, hope to attract donations towards that cause from our existing contact base."

Your reasons for a direct mail

The reasons for staging a direct mail-out campaign will generally sort themselves into a few basic categories:
  • A request for donations or sponsorships.
  • An awareness campaign highlighting an issue or challenge.
  • A fundraiser through the sale of goods or raffle tickets.
  • A membership, volunteer or recruitment drive.
  • An invitation or opportunity to attend a function or fundraising event.
  • An appeal for goods or other help.
  • A rallying call to support an action your group is taking.
There could be more than one reason behind your direct mail-out. For example, you may wish to raise awareness of a certain issue but also try to attract donations to your group to help with that cause.

Sometimes these types of dual reasons go hand-in-hand. Other times, the link may not be so obvious. But the key point is to ensure your group is clear on the reasons behind its mail-out, and can articulate them easily.

Your group should also look at what response you hope to get from recipients of your mail-out.

That could be:
  • A response supporting your group, or the cause it represents, through donations, goods or sponsorship.
  • A response which sees people inquiring about memberships, helping as volunteers or supporters or signing on as a member or volunteer.
  • RSVPs from recipients for invitations to your function or fundraising event.
  • No overt response, but greater knowledge of what your group does and any activities that may be happening through the inclusion of a newsletter or bulletin in your mail-out.
Your group needs to be able to articulate why it is planning a direct mail-out and know the form of response it will prompt. That way, as you plan your direct mail-out you can also plan to cater for the expected response.

The importance of being clear on your reasons for direct mail

The main reason for your group to be clear on the aim of your direct mail-out campaign is to help you focus on what you are doing.

Knowing the message you are sending out and the reason why you are sending it allows for clearer focus on the most effective way of communicating that message.

Deciding what to include in a mail-out, as well as the wording and content of a main letter or other material, also becomes an easier task when the reason behind the exercise is clear.

It will also help your group remain more aware of what type of response it will get to the mail-out and make preparation to cater for it.

Carefully consider all elements of your direct mail during the planning stage, before you prepare and send it out.

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