One of the strongest communication tools within Donor Management that can help you reach your audience is the "direct mailing." Direct mail communications utilize "snail mail" to send a physical letter out to your donors and your community.
Direct mailings can be used for a variety of reasons, such as sending physical newsletters or appeals to less technologically-savvy contacts, or sending year-end tax-related documents for a donor's personal records.
Similarly to their email blast counterpart, a direct mailing can be customized to include images or other organization-specific features (like a letterhead.)
Creating a Direct Mail Communication
There are a couple of ways that you can create a direct mail communication in Donor Management.
If you're looking to create a direct mailing for multiple contacts, you'll want to click on the option for "Communication" in the left-hand navigation, and select "Direct Mail" from the dropdown menu options.
Once that page has loaded, you should be able to click the orange "Add Direct Mail" button in the top-right corner of your screen.
If you're looking to create a direct mailing for a singular individual, you can do so directly from the donor's profile. From the section labeled "Communication" in the donor's profile, you should be able to click on the "Add" button, and select "Direct Mail" from the available dropdown options.
Building a Direct Mail Communication
The first step you'll be asked to give your direct mailing a name. We recommend picking a name that clearly indicates what the mailing will be about, so you can easily identify it later on.
You can also opt to use a saved template, or duplicate an existing direct mailing, by selecting the option to do so below the "Mailing Name" field. You'll then be able to select the correct template or prior mailing from a dropdown list that will appear at the bottom of your screen.
Once you're ready, you'll want to press the orange "Next" button in the top-right corner of your screen.
If you're creating your own direct mailing, you'll then be provided with two options. If you select "Build Your Own," you'll then be able to use our web editing tools to build and customize your mailing. If you choose the "Upload" option, you can easily upload a Microsoft Word document you've already created to speed up the process.
If you're uploading a Word Document, you can skip down to the section below that explains that process in greater detail.
The next step will ask for additional information in terms of setup for your direct mailing, such as if this mailing will include mailing labels, or if you'd like to include only one letter per household.
You can also adjust the margins for your mailing from this screen, or add a version of your organization's letterhead or stationery that'll appear in the background of your mailing.
On the next screen, you'll be able to compose your message and adjust the formatting (such as the font type and size) as needed. You can also add merge fields to further personalize your letters to your contacts; you can even add an image to your message, if you'd like!
Once you're happy with the way your message looks, you can move on to the next step - selecting recipients for your message.
You have the option to send the message to everyone listed as a contact in Donor Management, or you can select a custom list of individuals for a more focused approach. If you select the option for "custom list," you'll then be able to select from your groups or filters - or you can select individuals by searching for their name or email.
Once you've selected your recipients, you'll be asked to perform one final review of your communication to make sure everything looks correct. You'll see a miniature version of your letter, as well as some of the important details you'll want to know (such as the accompanying label types and recipients).
You'll also have the option to download a preview of the letters you're generating. Doing so will create one sample letter from your direct mailing, so it will look exactly as a recipient will see it when it arrives in their mailbox.
If everything looks correct, you can select the "Generate XX Letters" button. Your mailing will now reflect as "processing" on the Direct Mailing page until the letters are ready to download.
Shortly afterwards, you should automatically receive an email alerting you that the letters are ready for download. When you log back into Donor Management, you'll be able to download a .PDF file of all of your letters in this mailing that you can then print and send to your donors!
If you are also generating labels for your mailing, the button will instead read "Generate XX Letters and XX Labels," and your downloaded file for the mailing will include those labels for you to print and use.
Uploading a Word Document for a Direct Mail Communication
If you opt to import a Word document in for a direct mailing, you'll automatically jump from the "Type" step of this process to the "Recipients" step.
The process for this step will look very similar - but once you click the "Next" button, you'll see an option to upload the document of your choice for your mailing. You'll be able to select that document by clicking the "browse" button, and selecting the correct file from your device.
Your file must be in a Word-compatible format, such as .DOCX. Please be sure to convert your file to a .DOCX if you're having issues uploading the document correctly.
You'll also see a list of available "merge fields" you can include within your Word document, to make sure that each letter is personalized to its recipient.
For more information about adding merge fields to a Word Document, check out this short video guide below.