5 reasons direct mail is still the fundraising powerhouse

Response rates down, costs up, supply chain problems making things difficult…

You might be thinking it’s time to move on from direct mail fundraising.

Before you do that, check out this post from The Agitator: The Exquisite Corpse of Direct Mail. You just might realize that what seems like a prudent reallocation of budget and effort could turn out to be a revenue disaster for your organization.

Direct mail fundraising has these significant advantages:

  1. Higher response rates. While email response rates rarely approach a 1% response rate, direct mail to donors averages around 4%.
  2. Boosts returns in other channels. This is a big deal! Online response and direct mail are strongly connected. What is sometimes seen as proof that direct mail is becoming ineffective compared to digital channels is in fact, donors responding to DM through digital channels. What’s important here: You have to use both channels!
  3. Real and personal. Email inboxes are increasingly crowded with decreasingly relevant messages. Direct mail remains as personal as ever.
  4. Competitive advantage. The overall volume has dropped by nearly half since its peak in 2006. It is growing more relevant, while email is growing less.
  5. More science than ever. We’re getting more and more tools and information to put data and insights to work for us about how to use the mail.

It’s important to keep your eyes open to changing conditions — and they are changing. But think twice before you assume direct mail is fading or ineffective. It isn’t!


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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