Contrary to popular support-letter etiquette, blasting out newsletters asking for funding from your entire mailing list might be causing more harm than good.

One of the most common questions we get from our clients is, how many fundraising letters can I send out at one time?

To answer that question, we first have to look at your pool of contacts.

Let’s say there are 400 people on your mailing list. In order to fundraise in a way that builds deep relationships and long-lasting partnerships, you will want to call everyone you send a letter (email or message) to within two days of them receiving that letter.

So, calling 400 people in two days may not be the most reasonable option…

The purpose of your letter isn’t to get someone to give. The purpose of your letter is not to get money. The purpose of your letter is to get people excited about what you are doing and to let them know that you are going to call them to see if they want to meet and talk more about a  future partnership.

So, before we can answer the question, “How many letters can I send out?” we need to be able to answer this one: How many phone calls can you make in a week?

Let’s put this into perspective. If you send out 10 letters, you'll need to make 10 phone calls in two days. Then, plan to make more phone calls two days later for those who didn't answer the first time. Then, guess what? Plan to make a third phone call, after two more days, to those who didn't answer the first two times.

So, how many letters can you send out?

I’d say, for most people, it would be: 10-15 letters

Any more than that will probably be more than most can handle.

If you send any more than 10-15 letters, you won’t have the time to invest in cultivating those donor relationships (and maintaining authentic donor relationships is the key to successful fundraising).

Follow up phone calls are just as important (if not more important) than the initial letter itself. If there is no follow-up, individuals will skim over the letter and will have forgotten about it by the end of the day (if not by the end of their lunch break).

The less is more approach will ensure that you care more about your donor than you care about them giving. And that approach will always result in a more generous response, and a long-term, committed partnership.