Thinking about starting a direct mail program? Direct mail can be a very effective and affordable way to start fundraising for your ministry. If you are just starting out, it’s likely that your needs are relatively modest, but so are your resources. The following is the method that was used to start a ministry that serves the poor in Washington D. C. and now Kansas City, called A Simple House. You can visit their website at www.asimplehouse.com.
When they started doing their direct mail program, they didn’t have a huge list of supporters. The founders of the ministry made a list of every person that they knew. Relatives, friends, teachers, students, pastors, churches. This was their starter list. Then they started doing their mailings.
Their letters are the key to their fundraising. In their fundraising letters, they beautifully and simply share their love for God and for the poor and invite people to share in that great work by making a donation. They actually compiled a book of their letters, which you can get at http://asimplehouse.org/2013/12/simple-house-book/. I’ve read it and found it both moving and enlightening.
Using the “starter list” provided enough funding to get their ministry started. The list has grown over the years, and they have received some really amazing gifts from their supporters. They have been given homes that they can use for their ministry volunteers, vehicles, furniture. All kinds of things. They now send out letters four or five times a year, each written by a leader or one of their full-time volunteers.
So if you’re starting a direct mail program, first, start with people you know and who know you. They are going to be your most receptive audience. In you’re letters, invite them to share in your mission, the mission of the whole Church, to bring the light of God’s life into a world filled with darkness.
And don’t forget to keep asking. A direct mail program is a way of entering into a relationship with people who care about the same things that you do. Sending them letters asking for support is a way of getting them involved in the work that God has called you to do. If you view it as a relationship and send letters that reflect that relationship, people will actually like hearing from you.