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How to create a direct mail campaign using Letters
How to create a direct mail campaign using Letters

Quickly create direct mail campaigns and letters of acknowledgment to engage your current supporters and connect with potential donors.

Alyssa avatar
Written by Alyssa
Updated over a week ago

Fundraising letters are a great way to connect with and impress donors. Add custom branding, merge fields/dynamic variables, and more. Once you've created a Letter, it's easy to download in batch PDF format on your computer and send them out.

We do not currently support physically mailing Letters directly from Givebutter – you'll need to download, print, and mail Letters out independently. Givebutter does not yet integrate with postage providers.

Creating a Letter ➕

Letters menu
  • To create a Letter, click New letter in the upper righthand corner of the Letters page.

new letter button
  • You'll be taken to the Letter editor.

Enter details ⚙️

  • Letter name – Enter a name for internal documentation purposes. This is not posted anywhere on the letter.

  • Description – Add an optional internal description to include the purpose and details of the letter. Max 450 characters.

  • Generate a letter for – Options include:

    • All contacts (default) – One letter per household and individual contacts not attached to a household

    • Individual contacts only – One letter per contact, regardless of household

    • Households only – One letter per household

  • Select whether or not you would like to generate a letter for contacts that don't have an address logged, ie. if you are hand-delivering letters.

Click Next in the upper right corner to proceed.

You can also come back to the Details section while composing your Letter if you need to make any edits.

Filter recipients 👪

Choose who you would like to include on your mailing list for this Letter. By default, all your contacts will be included. To narrow it down to a more specific group of people, use custom filters to target specific donor segments. A few example filtering options include:

  • Campaign – Donors who donated to a specific campaign.

  • Contact > Total Contributions – Filter by donors who have donated over a specific amount to your organization.

  • Transactions > Date – Donors who submitted a donation within a specific timeframe.

Click for a full list of contact filter options

  • Presets: A selection of preset options, including one-time donors

  • Campaigns: Donors who have given to a specific campaign

  • Contact: Donors who have given a certain amount, recurring donors, contacts since a certain date, or by tags

  • Team Member: Team Members on campaigns based on how much they've raised, the date they registered, or the number of supporters

  • Transactions: Donors who have a Transaction meeting the criteria set, ie. credited to a specific Team Member, over a certain amount, or by date

  • Tickets: Ticket holders of a specific ticket type, status (ie. checked in), or by number of tickets purchased

  • Recurring Plan: Donors with recurring plans by start date, amount, frequency (ie. monthly donors), or payment method

  • DonorSearch: Criteria set by DonorSearch such as rating or annual gift likelihood

  • Custom Fields: Filtering options will vary based on the type of contact custom field.

    • Text fields: Includes or excludes

    • Number fields: Greater than, less than, or equal to

    • Date fields: Includes or excludes date selection

    • Toggle fields: yes or no

    • Option fields: All, Any, or None of available options

These are cumulative filters, so you can select multiple criteria. Contact tags are a great way to designate a specific group of donors.

Composing a Letter ✍️

Your Letter will be automatically populated using the following information set in your account:

  • Logo – Set under Account > About > Branding > Email Logo

  • Account name – Set under Account > About > Organization Profile

  • EIN (if applicable)

  • Address of the organization – Set under Account > About > Address

The Letter editor is formatted similarly to the Engage email editor. Across the top of the composer, you'll see several formatting options. You can also insert custom graphics using our direct integration with Canva. If you need to exit at any time, our auto-save feature will save your progress.

Full list of Letter composer options

  • Insert

    • Image

    • Canva

    • Link

    • Table

    • Special character

    • Emojis

    • Horizontal line

    • Date/time (multiple formats)

  • Format

    • Bold

    • Italic

    • Underline

    • Strikethrough

    • Superscript

    • Subscript

    • Formats

      • Headings

      • Inline

      • Blocks

      • Align

    • Line height

    • Text color

    • Background color

  • Tools

    • Wordcount

    • Shortcuts menu

  • Insert image

  • Insert link

Merge tags 🧩

No one likes receiving generic mail! Personalize Letters to suit your donors using our extensive list of merge tags (also known as dynamic variables). Merge tags will display in your letter using the format {{merge.tag}}, and they are automatically filled out for each contact using their saved information.

Merge tags also support fallback values (defaults) that populate if merge tag data doesn't exist. To set fallback values, go to Engage > Settings > Merge Fields, and click Add new default.

merge tags

Example use cases include:

  • Adding a donor's name and contact information to customize a greeting

  • Adding a donor's total donation amount to create a custom end-of-year appreciation note

  • Adding a donor's largest donation amount and date to thank them for their most generous gift

Full list of merge tag options

  • Primary details

    • Prefix

    • First name

    • Middle name

    • Last name

    • Suffix

    • Full name (automatically concatenates prefix, first, last, and suffix)

    • Gender

    • Company

    • Title

    • Birthday

  • Contact details

    • Email address

    • Phone number

    • Address

      • Full Address

      • Address Line 1

      • Address Line 2

      • City

      • State

      • Zipcode

      • Country

  • Social accounts

    • Website

    • Facebook

    • LinkedIn

    • Twitter

  • Donation information

    • Last donation amount

    • Last donation date

    • Largest donation amount

    • Largest donation date

    • Total donations this year

    • Total donations last year

Page settings 📄

Under Page Settings, you can choose from a variety of paper sizes to suit your needs. Paper size options include:

  • Letter (8-1/2 x 11" – the default)

  • Half letter (5-1/2 x 8-1/2")

  • Legal (8-1/2 x 14")

  • A4 (210 x 297mm)

page settings

You can also set margins for the paper format. The default margins are set at 1" on each side of the page. Click Update to apply any changes. You cannot currently select envelope or label sizes – these will default to #10 envelopes, and Avery 5160 labels.

Once you've created your Letter, you can save a preview/example by clicking Download a Preview in the upper righthand corner of the page. Doing so will save a PDF to your computer. If you've used dynamic variables (merge fields), these will be populated using generic, randomized data.

Downloading Letters 📫

  • When you're happy with the Letter, click Next in the upper righthand corner of the Compose page.

  • Review your details, ensure everything looks correct, and click Generate Letters in the upper righthand corner.

  • A confirmation window will appear, showing a summary of the files that will be generated.

generate letters confirmation
  • Click Confirm when you're ready to generate the files. You'll be taken to a confirmation page for this Letter. A banner will be displayed at the top of the page indicating the status of your files.


Depending on how many Letters you're generating, this step may take a few minutes.

  • Once your Letters have finished generating, you'll see a banner confirming that your files are done being created. You'll also get an email notification that files are ready to download.

  • Under the Downloads heading, click Download next to each file.

    • Letters – The generated Letters, labels, and envelopes, in PDF format. You'll print these out to physically mail them.

    • Contacts – A CSV (spreadsheet) including all contacts a Letter was generated for. You'll need this file to print or write addresses and arrange postage.

Only two items (Letters and Contacts) will display here – this is as expected. Labels and envelopes are located inside the Letters download.

Printing your files 🖨️

  • Once you click Download next to the Letters line item, a ZIP file will download to your computer. Expand this ZIP file (double click on it), and you will see three folders: Envelopes, Labels, and Letters.

  • Print your files on the correct paper size for each file.

    • Letters – Page size selected by you (8-1/2 x 11" is the default)

    • Envelopes – #10 envelopes (4-1/8 x 9-1/2")

    • Labels – Avery 5160 labels (1 x 2-5/8")

Givebutter does not currently integrate with postage providers – you will need to arrange postage independently.

Ideas + best practices ⭐

Want to create a Letter, but not sure where to start? Here are some ideas!

When you're creating a Letter, keep the following best practices in mind:

We plan on launching a built-in QR code generator in Letters soon, but you can still add a QR code as an image! Just download your campaign's QR code, and add it to the Letter as an image.

Related content 📚

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