Fundraising RX

Prescriptions for fundraising success

This is a new series from AC Fitzgerald, addressing many of the most common issues we see everyday in our fundraising work. We’d love to hear what you think, and if you’re facing these issues, we’d love to help you find your solution!



“We spend a lot of money on direct mail, but I’m not sure it is really helping us build our fundraising program. After paying all the mailing costs, we make very little money. What are we doing wrong?”


  • You are not adding enough new donors to counteract typical attrition.
  • Newly acquired donors are not being retained.
  • Engaged donors are not increasing their average gifts.


  • Your letters are too short to make your case and inspire donors to give.
  • You lack a defined and compelling program or campaign to engage your donors.
  • You are preparing the mailings in-house and you have no expertise in this area.
  • You are over-editing the copy you receive from an outside experts.
  • You are not mailing consistently or often enough.
  • You have not analyzed the data and put it to work.


  • Recognize the difference between prospecting letters (which typically lose money) and housefile letters (which should net money).
  • Understand that direct mail can be counterintuitive and is different than other forms of communication. Don’t assume you know what will work in direct mail, if you have no experience or training.
  • Test the results of each package and improve as necessary.
  • Read the direct mail pieces of other organizations to see what works.
  • Promptly thank donors for their gifts and communicate impact regularly.