Most fundraisers involve teams and booster clubs spending countless hours selling cheap products to raise money. First, many of these products like candy, magazines, candles and scratch cards are items that people really don’t want to buy. Second, team members should not be subject to having an exhausting side-job in sales to raise money. Direct mail, on the other hand, offers a professional fundraising option for teams that produces great results with very little work. The basic premise to direct mail fundraising is that teams send out letters to a targeted list of potential donors – namely their friends and family.
Some people in the world of fundraising will tell you that direct mail can be costly due to postage and printing. The reality is that donation response rates with direct mail can be mind boggling – especially for sports teams. Some direct mail fundraising service providers are boasting profit margins of 80%-90%. This means that your team keeps a majority of that money that is brought in after paying the costs associated with the fundraiser. Most sales based fundraisers only allow you to keep 50% of the profits. So after all your work selling cheap products that people don’t want, you only get half the money that is raised.
The questions is then – why does direct mail work so well with sports teams instead of selling products? The easy answer is that the mailing lists for sports fundraisers are very targeted and accurate. Team members are mailing to their friends and family – people that have already have an interest in their athletic success. The second reason for this success could lie in the emotional connection that people have towards sports teams. Sports fans have a unique feeling towards their favorite teams – especially when family members are on the team. Mailings offer a great medium for teams to exploit this emotional connection. Because direct mail is in letter format – it allows teams to tell their stories to potential donors. The stories include how the team did last year, their potential success for the upcoming year and what excites donors the most – pictures of your team. A well crafted direct mail letter can heighten this emotional connection to a team as recipients feel like they are a part of your program after reading your story. This connection is also something that triggers people to make a donation. And this is why direct mail is great for sports teams.
Now that we have looked at why direct mail and sports fundraising are the perfect marriage, below is a list of tips for creating your own mailing that will be effective.
* Personalized – Because direct mail is in letter format, it is important to personalize the document as much as possible. Put the athlete’s name at the top of the letter and address the recipient by name in the salutation (i.e. Dear Uncle Jim). This can be easily done with a mail merge or variable data printing. Also, a handwritten note on the letter from the athlete can also be beneficial.
* Brand Your Team – Your team has logos and colors. Be sure that these are properly represented in your direct mail piece. Doing this will make your team look professional which is good because no one wants to support a sloppy looking program.
* Tell Your Story – Like was mentioned in the article above, you want to give details about your team. Let donors know how last season went and what the prospects are for this upcoming season. Give donors a schedule of your upcoming games and any websites or social media sites like Facebook where they can follow your season.
* Make it Easy to Give – Finally, give a couple different options to make a donation so it is convenient for the donor. Options could include mail, phone and online. For the mailing option, make sure to include a self-addressed envelope so donors can easily send back a gift.
To find out more about how direct mail can raise money for your sports team with little work and great results, visit