Fundraising with data, dynamic content, and digital printing

Sheridan Bruce, FINZ NewzViewz December 2015

Mail is incredibly successful for direct marketing and a very powerful tool for fundraising. While mail itself is as old as the printing press, technological developments have not only created a fertile online space for fundraising but have also contributed to a revival in donor acquisition, retention and fundraising via the humble letterbox.

So what's happened to keep mail the sharpest tool in the toolbag?

Printed marketing and fundraising material produced by the charity sector is the most common way causes are promoted and supported in New Zealand. This includes letters, envelopes, brochures, newsletters, cards, calendars, magazines, and everything in between. Commonly called direct marketing, this is the material which comes through the letterbox and is designed to touch us through heartfelt stories of sorrow and success and prompt us to give money or time to support a cause.

An evolving marketing landscape has seen rapid growth in email and online communications at the expense of 'snail' mail. And while mail volumes have decreased since the revolution of online marketing, what has emerged is an uncluttered environment for quality, well executed and targeted mail. This can now reach out to people with personalised, specific and relevant messages and as a result be an effective marketing tool and an even more effective fundraising methodology.

It’s not just about what you say in a mail piece anymore, it’s also about how you say it, when and to whom. Write a personal letter to a friend, but sent to hundreds or thousands of ‘friends’ who are your donors. A letter which is personalised with name or nick name, with content tailored according to your friends’ personas, interests and beliefs and with an ‘ask’ which absolutely resonates with their understanding and passion for your cause.

Peter Clarke and Grant Chellew from ROE Print create alot of mailings, and other printed collateral for charity clients. Having worked with fundraisers for many years, they believe the three most important aspects which make today’s mailings the queen of fundraising are: data, dynamic content and digital printing.

Data. We all know that data gives fundraisers the greatest leverage in raising funds. Targeted personalised communications are created by using donors’ data appropriately. When we acknowledge donors by their name or other aspects of their persona, we’re giving donors the confidence that we know and respect them. At the very least, a donor database will contain contact information such as name and address, but aim for much more than this.

Dynamic Content. By knowing donors at a deeper level, content can be written to mirror them demographically and/or psychographically. Various and different content can be developed according to the segments of a database, and this contributes to richer and more relevant communications overall.

Digital Printing. This process pulls the data and dynamic content together through the ‘mail merge’ process to create mailings which are personalised, individualised and rich in content.


Printing technology has come a long way with digital printing now allowing for multiple variations of messages, all driven by the data meaning specific messages to specific audiences all in the same print run. Highly targeted, one to one, person to person, conversation pieces, rather than fundraising letters, can tell stories to each and every donor resonating with their beliefs and understanding of the causes dear to them. 

For information about digital printing with ROE Print, contact Peter Clarke on Thanks to Mark Newell NZ Post for helping with this article.

Fundraising with data, dynamic content, and digital printing



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