So much of what we do as nonprofit marketers is focused on the high-tech: the use of sophisticated targeting, analysis made possible by electronic media, adoption of the latest and greatest applications.

I urge clients to utilize every high-tech tool available to them.

But it’s important not to let high-tech strategies completely eclipse more personal efforts–what I call “high-touch.”

High-tech is an email campaign individualized to different segments of your audience, with unique landing pages and detailed post-campaign analysis.

High-touch is the handwritten note saying “It was great to see you at XYZ event last Thursday!”

I challenge all my readers to find a way to make every printed mass communication piece more “high-touch” between now and the end of the year. It won’t always be possible, but just making an effort will make big changes to your campaigns.

Here are some very simple ideas (some of which you might already employ):

  • Include a handwritten signature on mass mailings, when possible.
  • When mailing with a first-class stamp, hand-address the envelopes instead of machine addressing. If it’s a large mailing, pull a certain number of addresses (perhaps lapsed donors) from the list–you can machine address the bulk of the list and mail on a Standard A permit, and mail a handful first class with handwritten addresses.
  • Hand-write more than just a signature. If you’re sending a post-event receipt, why not include “great bow-tie!” or “what a dancer!” in the margin?
  • Engage your board to send hand-written thank you notes to donors, in place of–or in addition to–a formal acknowledgement and receipt. Make the activity a regular part of board meetings (perhaps the first five minutes of each meeting).
  • Every organization posts event photos online, but savvy high-touch marketers might print out a set of 3″ x 5″ prints from those electronic images, and slip a copy in future correspondence to event attendees. Imagine getting a thank you note after an organization’s big gala event, with a snapshot of you from the evening.

Efforts like that get rewarded with increased engagement, increased donation amounts, and increased loyalty.