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Direct Mail Fundraising FAQs

Please reference our FAQs for Direct Mail Fundraising below.  In addition, the bottom of this page has a link to the LWVUS/LWVEF direct marketing fundraising schedule for end-of-year efforts and the remainder of the FY18 fiscal year. State and local Leagues can also download the sample fundraising email below to help with their fundraising mailings. For questions about the fundraising schedule or sample letter, please contact Kate Kennedy at [email protected] or 202-263-1336.


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Direct Mail Fundraising


Who is receiving direct mail solicitations from LWVUS?

The national direct mail program has around 83,000 active donors, only about 10% overlap with the membership.  We send multiple mailings a year to donors and donor who are also members.  In addition, we send two mailings a year to members who are not donors: one in May or June and one in November or December. 


How many mailings go out a year and why are they so frequent?

The national direct mail program leverages best practices in fundraising to implement a comprehensive strategy.  There are five different types of mailings we send throughout the year including: Acquisition, Appeals, Renewals, Reinstatement, and Sustainers.  Please note, not every donor/prospect receives every campaign – we carefully evaluate the selected recipients to receive each campaign based on previous giving habits.  Donors who have given in the last 2 years, generally receive between 5 and 10 mailings from us in a year (excluding the Thank You letters that come directly after a donation).  People can receive, at maximum, 15 mailings in a single year (excluding Thank Yous).   It may feel counterintuitive, but best practices in this field are to provide frequent communications (around 15 per year).  This keeps the person engaged with the mission and provides multiple opportunities to give, allowing for the important factor of timing.


What are the purposes of these direct mail pieces?

Most of the mailings sent are part of the appeal program where the primary purpose is to inform and engage the recipient in our mission.  These appeals do contain an ask, but they are not the main focus of the mailing. The main focus is to highlight a part of our mission and work like protecting voting rights, registration, or informing voters.


What is the schedule for the mailings so my local or state League can plan?

The current schedule is attached to this email along with a sample direct mail letter.  State and local Leagues are free to send mailings when it is best for them.  A good time would be to mail between Thanksgiving and the middle of December. 


I have seen a mailing that uses the word “join” and we have members coming to our meetings thinking they are members.  What should we do about this?

To help alleviate confusion, as of October 2017, LWVUS has removed the word “join” from all our mailings and replaced it with “support.”  We are constantly working to improve our messaging to make it clearer that we are asking for philanthropic support and not membership.  In addition, this summer, we redesigned a supporter card that was part of a fundraising appeal to nonmembers.  This appeal goes out (to different prospects) multiple times a year and the redesign took effect in August 2017.  We also added language that refers people to their local leagues to become a member.


What should we do if someone comes to our meeting thinking they are a member?

We encourage Leagues to welcome these interested meeting attendees and treat them as a member for a year, essentially waiving the membership fee for the first year. Please note that they may still receive a renewal notice from LWVUS to renew their donation. To prevent this, please contact Rose Simmons at 202.263.1337 or via email at [email protected] to have them removed them from the renewal notice list.  For those who still have questions or concerns, I encourage you to refer them to Rose as well. 


What should we do if someone gave to a LWVUS solicitation thinking they were joining a local League and want a refund?

It is important to honor the intentions of everyone giving money.  If someone had intended to give to join their local league and would like a refund, for auditing purposes, they must contact LWVUS directly to request a refund.  Alternately, a forwarded email with their name and intentions clearly articulated will work. 


What should I do if there is a complaint with a Telemarketing call?

Our telemarketing program follows direct mail appeals and reaches previous donors.  The telemarketing firm should use an approved script; however, there have been instances where callers go off-script.  If you hear of an inappropriate call, please pass along the name and/or address of person to Rose Simmons at 202-263-1337 or [email protected].  She can pull up the recording and take necessary action.  We do audit the callers during every campaign; however, we can’t listen to all the calls and appreciate any feedback we get.