At the risk of sounding "formulaic" here is a formula! And an explanation!
This is what I have done for many years and it is well received by my partners.
4GL plus 4DL plus Turkey Day gift + 5
- 4GL -- four general newsletters to everyone on my mailing list.
- 4DL -- four additional letters to donors only (these letters are shorter and I share more personal stuff.)
- Turkey Day gift -- I send a gift or calendar for the coming year on Thanksgiving morning with a short letter explaining that I am thankful for them.
- I also try to personally visit each donor every five years.
This means that my giving partners hear from me at most nine times per year since they also receive the 4GL's and the Turkey gift.
Some ministries recommend sending a letter once a month. That's unrealistic for many--including me! Behind this formula is the marketing concept of "segmentation." I have segmented my list into donors and non-donors. I assume donors are more interested and so they receive more news. The principle is: Send the most information to those who want the most. Some might hear from me more than nine times.
I do two other things that are instinctive and cannot be put into a formula.
- If a donor is on my mind for a day or two (and they often are) I email them or phone them on the spot. I tell them I'd been thinking of them and that I hope everything is okay.
- When a donor writes or calls I respond even if they are not asking for a response.
Q. Be honest! Do your donors always hear from you nine times a year? Come on...
A. Honestly, most years they do. But sometimes my formula may drop to 3DL plus the Turkey gift. But my Anchor Donors of $2500 and up will always hear nine times.