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Across the country, the recession and subsequent economic doldrums caused precious cash donations to plummet significantly for many nonprofits. With donations so essential to sustaining operations, aggressive fundraising efforts became even more important.

Enter Erica Waasdorp, president of the Massachusetts-based firm, A Direct Solution, providing direct fundraising efforts and marketing services for a wide range of nonprofit clients. In 2003, Waasdorp, a self-described “Philanthropyholic,” founded the firm after 20 years of direct nonprofit marketing experience, including seven years with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. 

A Direct Solution specializes in conducting many different types of fundraising campaigns, including monthly giving, annual fund appeals, membership drives, major and planned gift-giving and international efforts. 

Despite the growth of Internet marketing, Waasdorp still finds much of her success through a more old-fashioned approach. She says she is embracing technological advances such as Constant Contact and LinkedIn, but that in many cases, old-fashioned direct mail is still the best way to reach potential donors for her clients.

A Direct Solution helped one Boston-based advocacy organization use a direct mail campaign targeting those donors most likely to give a repeat donation. In a short period of time, the nonprofit saw donations increase by nearly 10 percent, a 4 to 1 return of its investment, according to A Direct Solution. 

“What you see is that direct mail still works really, really well,” Erica Waasdorp said. “Facebook and email might work for some of the younger donors, but a lot of the older donors are still very responsive to direct mail.”

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