Recruiting donors through leaflets and adverts in magazines and newspapers
Choosing which media to place inserts in. Finding media whose circulation matches exactly the profile of supporter you want to recruit is not easy. Bearing in mind that responsiveness to direct marketing communication is the most important criterion for donor recruitment, the only readers certain to have this component of the match you want will be mail order subscribers. Choose these first as a test of the medium wherever you can. Next choose special interest magazines which match the assumed lifestyle interests of your donors. Lastly choose general interest magazines and newspapers ( such as local newspapers ).
Designing and writing. With insert leaflets, of course, the whole message and response device have to be boiled down to fit onto one sheet of paper. Most loose insert media will only allow a maximum weight of insert – in practice one sheet of A4 folded in whichever way you design. So the message needs to be concentrated and punchy. Put the entire proposition and price on the front page of the leaflet. ( e.g. Feed a hungry child for a month for just £12 ). A two colour leaflet will normally suffice – in fact documentary photography often looks better in black and white than colour.
Printing. There is no need to use a specialist printer, though beware of delivery charges if the printer is a long way from the magazine’s mailing house.
Analysing results. Follow the guidelines provided for cold mailings. Expect less than 0.2% response and expect a high level of anonymous donations. Unfortunately, loose inserts have a major downside risk. Results are extremely difficult to predict from tests as conditions vary greatly between insertion dates and, of course, vastly between different media, even if the readership is, on paper, the same profile. ( e.g. ABC1, affluent women ). This makes loose inserts as a medium really one more suited to large volume users.
The elements of the process for recruiting donors by press adverts are:
- Decide on the target market you are seeking and secure placement of the advert in magazines and newspapers you believe to have the right profile of readership for the type of person you want to recruit.
- Design, write and produce print-ready artwork for the advert.
- Send the advert artwork to the newspapers or magazines you are using.
- Analyse results.
Now let us examine these in turn.
Choosing the media to place the advert in. Follow the guidelines for loose inserts above. It is tempting to follow the logic that since the big charities use press advertising, it must work as they know what they are doing. Many of the adverts you see in the press are using unsold space and are either free or sold at what are called ‘distress’ rates. In fact it is possible to have standing artwork ready for the paper to inert when they fail to sell all the advertising space they have available. Collect the papers and magazines you plan to use and monitor charity advertising in them. If a wide range of causes advertise, then this is a good sign. If only horse rescue societies, blindness causes and disaster emergency relief agencies appear, then treat with caution. These latter three seem to be the only types of charity to make press advertising work on a regular basis across a wide range of media.
Designing and writing. Follow the guidance for loose inserts above. Don’t forget to put the proposition and price prominently.
Analysing results. Follow the guidance for cold mailings. The same guidance about predicting results applies as given for ‘loose inserts’.