Fundraising Communication: Abandoning print mail

Charities depend on funds. Funds depend on words. Every word spoken, posted, written and communicated in various ways about the charity and its purpose will impact its fundraising ability.

In the world of charity fundraising communication is everything. Often charities stagnate in their communication, assuming that the way they have communicated in the past is still going to engage their supporters, or engage potential donors of today.

Interestingly enough, however, some charities will not make changes to the way they communicate, but quite easily change their channels of communication without a thought about whether they are bringing their supporters along.

A perfect example is the use of social media and e-marketing. Established charities with a strong supporter base of retirement age can, in deed, be missing out on income, simply because they have moved with the times, too quickly. Many charities have abandoned or narrowed down their use of postal mailings in the hope of saving marketing pounds and meeting the ever-increasing requirements around contact preferences and data protection.

Yet, while social media and e-marketing often does need to be incorporated into a charity’s communication mix, one cannot underestimate the importance of traditional forms of communication, in particular, direct (postal) mail. The importance lies not only in the age bracket of our addressees, but in the distinctly more appealing nature of tangible letters. While the cost for direct mail is higher than that of an email, its fundraising return is, on average, higher.

‘In its response rate report, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) analyzed Bizo and Epsilon data and found that direct mail achieves a 4.4% response rate, compared to 0.12% for email. Overall, the DMA found that direct mail's response rates are actually anywhere from 10 to 30 times higher than that of digital.30 Aug 2017, Forbes, http://bit.ly/2FWEXg6

(image source: http://bit.ly/2zGBVal

(image source: http://bit.ly/2zGBVal

Direct Mail drives people online. Links provided in a direct mail offer easy access to online giving and additional information. Donors often keep their direct mail letters for more than 30 days, going back to them and finally making a decision to give.

Direct Mail not just for the elderly nor is omni-channel communication just for businesses. Fundraising communications strategies must think along the omni-channel lines and consider direct mail as vital part of the communication mix.

When planning the next charity fundraising campaign – think twice before abandoning print mail.