5 things to do when you hit the paper shortage

If you’re a direct mailer, you may have already experienced the pain of the widespread paper shortage. If you haven’t, you likely will eventually.

Getting stuff printed is more expensive, and often you can’t get the paper you need. (In my experience, it’s envelopes — especially non-standard sizes and stocks — that are not available.)

To keep your direct mail fundraising from hitting the wall in the fast-approaching fundraising season, check out this helpful article at Nonprofit Pro: Direct Mail Fundraising During the Great Paper Shortage:

  1. Talk to your vendors now. Find out what is and is not available. A good printer can help you work around the realities you face, before it becomes a screaming emergency.
  2. Be open-minded. Not getting exactly what you want probably isn’t going to kill your fundraising results. Be flexible.
  3. Look at different format options. Maybe there’s something good you haven’t considered!
  4. Plan earlier than usual. This is key. Starting projects earlier can save the day!
  5. Data is king. Mail smart. This is the time when you may have no other choice.

Most of all, don’t give up!

You may think you should go all digital to avoid the whole problem. For most, that would be a terrible mistake. While donors are increasingly giving online, direct mail is still the top driver of donations — including online donations.


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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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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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