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Dear Karen

I just came back from a business trip in the Netherlands, where they inducted the new King, Willem-Alexander. It was a really great time to be there as the whole country was orange.  Then I went to the Engage Conference in Philadelphia. It’s a brand new conference, organized by Fundraising Success Magazine. It was one day, filled with practical case studies of organizations, confirming something my clients are fortunate to experience virtually every month!

Direct mail still works!!

Yes, it’s true: direct mail costs are going up every time postage rates increase. Yes, it’s true: we all love to find new donors who use social media and the internet to donate. But, they’re just not there in abundance. Did you know that you can quintuple your investment with direct mail? In other words, spend $0.20 to $0.30 to raise a dollar?  

How successful your direct mail can be and your overall fundraising results depends on the planning that goes into it. Some organizations need to invest a lot in building a donor base. Others are carefully looking at how best to grow their annual fund. Others churn through several annual events but are really looking to get away from them as they’re so resource intensive and volunteers get burned out.

Many are looking to convert their donors to sustainers, recurring or monthly donors. These are great times to make all of this happen!

As you know, I’m a strong advocate of both direct mail and monthly giving. In my experience they go hand in hand. Except that there are several great ways to grow your monthly giving program.  Especially through the internet, and it is not that hard to set up. And here are a few other tips that you may wish to consider, that do involve direct mail and even phone calls.

One key with starting monthly giving is to stick with it! Start small – don’t overreach – you’ll be surprised that by incorporating the monthly giving ask into all of your fundraising efforts, after a while, as with paying your bills, you won’t even think about it.  And it will start to grow…. 

Earlier this spring, I published the e-book version of my book – Monthly Giving:  The Sleeping Giant, now available at You can also download the Introduction here, which gives you a good overview of why monthly giving should be included in your development plan.  If you are interested in starting a monthly giving program and need help getting started,  I’d be happy to meet with you for a free, one hour consultation and help work on your plan.

All my best for a great summer!

Erica Waasdorp, President, A Direct Solution

ps –You can ask us to help you with your Annual Fund, Planned Giving, Grant writing, Events, Sustainers and Public Relations.  A Direct Solution can help you put a plan together so you will smooth out your income during the year and you can focus on your mission! Call us today at (508) 776-1224 or send us an email at 

The Other Overlooked Source of Revenue
Planned Giving

Many nonprofits shy away from making planned giving options available to their donors. 

Why is that? 

They don’t want to bring it up with their donors, they think it’s too complicated (think annuities) and they don’t see the immediate benefit. 

But is that really true? 

If we look at what makes up planned giving, there are a number of options available:  being named in a simple will (bequest); being an insurance policy beneficiary; gifts of cash, stock, real estate (make sure that you have a Gift Acceptance Policy in place!) . 

Sure, one of your longtime donors may never tell you that they have named your organization in their will. 

However, if you never give them the idea, would they have done it in the first place?


Client Spotlight
Barnstable Land Trust

Founded in 1983 and now celebrating 30 years and more than 1,000 acres of preserved open space, the Barnstable Land Trust (BLT) works solely in the Town of Barnstable. 

BLT works with the Town, homeowners and businesses to identify and receive pockets of open space. It then manages the lands entrusted to its care in perpetuity for the benefit of the community and future generations.

The Barnstable Land Trust acquires deeded ownership of land through outright gifts, “bargain sales” (below market value) or neighborhood-driven fundraising and purchases. Lands include wildlife habitat, scenic views, wetlands, sensitive watershed parcels, forests and other valuable open space.  Educational and volunteer opportunities are provided to a growing membership of local individuals and business.    
Gifts from the Sea is the Barnstable Land Trust’s major fundraiser, attended by 200 to 225 people annually.  This year’s event is being held on July 21, 2013 in Cotuit. Guests will enjoy a cocktail reception and a selection of delicious foods as well as the opportunity to bid on a wide array of unique live and silent auction items.  A Direct Solution is working with the Trust to organize the event, plan the auction and assist on that day with set-up and logistics.  

Learn more about the Barnstable Land Trust and the upcoming Gifts By the Sea by clicking here.



Donor Fatique "Fatigue"
Recency, Frequency and Value by Sean Triner

In a recent blog posting, Sean Triner describes a situation where a nonprofit worries about donor fatigue, despite the fact that money was low and they had a committed group of donors. 

Sean outlines the rule of “RFV” (Recency, Frequency and Value) which is a mathematical rule that gives you three clues about the likelihood of a positive response from a donor who is mailed.  

Sean finishes his blog with a great quote:  “Donor fatigue fatigue is when you get tired of people thinking that they have donor fatigue when it simply isn’t the case”.  Think about it!  Read the entire blog here


Monthly Giving, The Sleeping Giant

Monthly Giving
The Sleeping Giant

Here are a few reviews:

Erica, I LOVED YOUR BOOK!  I love the way you simplified it for everyone.  Thanks!  Gail (Perry) Fired Up Fundraising!

Monthly giving rocks. Its payoff is in relative terms quick, and pending you caring for them greatly, long as well. It isn't about monthly giving versus another type of giving for your program. It's about how you can make monthly giving work. It co-exists peacefully with everything else you do. And any fundraiser who chooses not to focus on monthly giving as a core part of what they do does so at their peril.- Jonathan Grapsas, flat earth direct

Order your copy and start or grow your monthly giving program by clicking here today!


From Our Happy Clients:

Many thanks for your enormous help...  We have accomplished quite a bit together and I can't thank you enough.

Nancy Noble, Cape Abilities

Erica -  you have been a " god-sent"!  Your counsel has been awesome and timely.  Thank you for all you are doing!

Charles Molloy, Nuru International 

Table of Contents


A Direct Solution - In the News

In February I co-presented the workshop “How Monthly Giving Programs are Transforming Nonprofit Fundraising” with Anne Morrison, Director Analytic Services, Target Analytics, at the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA) luncheon at the Yale Club in New York City. 

In April I presented at a luncheon workshop of the Philanthropy Partners of the Cape and Islands (PPCI) “Monthly Giving” in Hyannis.  You can download my presentation and learn more about PPCI by clicking here.

Read my article in the April issue of Journal of the DMA Nonprofit Federation (see page 26).

On May 9th I attended Engage Conference 2013, a case-study focused fundraising conference in Philadelphia presented by Fundraising Success Magazine

I'll be doing a webinar with Pamela Grow of The Grow Report on June 11th, and with Gail Perry of Fired-Up Fundraising! on July 10th. 

On July 18th, I'll present at the Center for Nonprofit Success in Boston with three other nonprofits on: Fundraising in the One-Person Development Shop: Making the Most of a Shoestring Budget.

I’ll be leading a workshop “Monthly Giving:  How to Make the Sleeping Giant Roar” at the National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) in September in Grapevine, Texas. 

Finally, I'm pleased to say that I'm the US Ambassador for the Resource Alliance's International Fundraising Conference in the Netherlands, October 15 - 18, 2013.

IFC Fundraising Ambassador

Please let me know if you are interested in more information about any of these.


Gift Acceptance Policy
Why Every Organization Needs One

It is crucial for every organization to have in place a gift acceptance policy.  This allows you to be pro-active about what you can receive, making sure that it fits in with your mission, programs and ability to manage.  In addition, it allows you to gracefully and politely decline a gift which could end up costing you a lot of money!

Here’s an example – you are gifted a house.  On first glance – wow – sell it and make a lot of money!  However – think carefully-  do you have the staff time to work with a realtor and see through a sale?  Is the house habitable and ready to sell?  Are there upgrades or zoning issues which would be prohibitively expensive to address?  The same thing could be said for a vehicle. Are there hidden repairs underneath the hood?

A simple paragraph outlining your gift acceptance policy, included on your website and development materials, can go a long way toward avoiding hurt feelings with a well-intentioned donor!  Click here  for a great White Paper from Blackbaud outlining how, why and when you should have this important policy in place. 


Stop Mailing, Don't Stop Mailing!

I recently came across a great article by Tom Belford in The Agitator.  Tom offers some great advice on when to take donors out of the direct response solicitation stream.  This is especially important in larger nonprofit organizations that may have separate programs (and staff) for direct mail and major gifts...what's the hand-off?  Read more here!


Why A Direct Solution?
Direct Mail continues to be one of the most cost-effective ways to raise money.  
In the current economy, where else can you double, triple, quadruple or quintuple your investment? Especially now, it's crucial to reach out to your donors and give them a chance to give. Getting your appeals out on time and in a regular manner are crucial to your bottom line.   Direct Mail is an essential tool in continuing to bring in new donors and upgrading existing donors to higher giving levels.
Yes, hiring a consultant will cost some money. But it will cost a lot more if you're not able to get your appeal out the door. Consider the time you save outsourcing your direct mailings! Time you can spend cultivating that potential new $10,000 donor.

Contact A Direct Solution for direct mail fundraising support, as well as grant writing, public affairs and event support. Read more by visiting our website:   A Direct Solution. 

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