Should I be sending an emergency
direct mail appeal?
If your cause is directly related to Covid-19: absolutely send an emergency direct mail appeal. If you are a hospital, medical research institute, or you are providing services to people impacted by Covid-19, you should see an increase in response and average gift.
If your cause is being impacted by Covid-19: absolutely send an emergency direct mail appeal. That would include food banks, organisations working with poor and vulnerable communities, and even overseas aid charities. Explain how Covid-19 is increasing demand for your services. Your donors will respond generously.
If your cause is unrelated to Covid-19 BUT you've had to cancel events or face-to-face fundraising activity: absolutely send an emergency appeal. Explain to your donors how your fundraising is being negatively impacted. Tell them that is why you are contacting them by mail. In times of need, your donors will be generous, even if your cause is not directly related to Covid-19.
How do I produce an emergency
direct mail appeal?
Focus on simple designs that can be produced and turned around quickly. Standard envelope sizes, 2 or 4 page letters, reply forms and BREs. You do not need brochures, surveys or premiums.
An emergency appeal should look like it was done very quickly.
Tell your donors how much money you need and when you need it by -- say, "I need $1 million by the end of the month".
Be honest and tell your donors just how bad it is. If you cancelled an event, tell them how much money you lost. If you suspended or curtailed face-to-face activity, tell them how much that is going to impact you over the course of the year, two years, and beyond.
If you need any help with an emergency appeal, we can achieve them in hours and days, not weeks. In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we are taking on Emergency Direct Mail Appeal projects at $6,000. See example below of what we recently produced in just a few hours.