Direct Mail is Still King of Fundraising for Non-Profits

  • Direct Mail is Still King of Fundraising for Non-Profits

    Posted May 31st, 2012 By in Cross Media Campaigns With | No Comments

    Executive Summary

    Compared to other channels, direct mail is still the best way by far to raise money and attract new donors.  But the situation is dynamic.

    A recent study of 79 non-profits with 38 million donors ranked the relative effectiveness of fund raising by marketing channel, comparing dollars raised from direct mail, Internet, telemarketing and other channels.  Which medium do you think pulled in the most donations?

    Hands down, it was direct mail.  The non-profits earned a greater return from direct mail than from all other channels combined.

    Here are the results.  Donations per channel:

    Direct mail                  78%

    Online                          9%

    Telemarketing              3%

    All others                   10%

    These figures come from relatively recent (2009) study by Target Analytics, using a large sample that encompassed 74 million gifts totaling over $2 billion.  The results should be taken seriously by direct marketers.

    Of course no situation is static.  The researchers note that compared to their 2005 study, online giving in 2009 grew from 4% to 9% of the total.  Internet gifts were on average larger, too, than donations made in response to other media.  Average donation size per channel in the 2009 study were:

    Online                       $79

    Telemarketing           $45

    Direct mail                 $40

    Another key finding was that 87% of all new donors in 2009 were acquired via direct mail solicitations.  The proportion of new donors acquired online was growing, but accounted for only 12% of new donors in 2009.

    The Lesson     Clearly, if you’re a fundraiser, direct mail is still your best tool, even though online giving is growing.  The best course to plot may be to use multiple channels in combination to maximize your returns.  Strategic use of email in combination with direct mail can also help you control postage costs in these times of rapidly rising postal rates.  We’ll discuss this in another post.

    For more information contact:

    Mike Dickinson



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