The national Durham+Co study conducted in 2010 by the Campbell Rinker research firm has found that response to direct mail donation appeals outran response to e-mail appeals 14% to 6%, respectively.
I’m not surprised by the results, but I do think fundraisers should pay attention to them.
It’s easy to opt for email solicitations: At the very least, they’re fast, cheap, and convenient. But sometimes easy is not good enough.
Remember: 73% of Americans prefer to get fundraising content by “snail mail,” as opposed to 18% who prefer e-mail. Furthermore, non-response is not free. By sending emails to prospects who don’t want them, you run the risk of annoying and maybe alienating them with what they see as spam.
Plus, e-mail just can’t match direct mail in terms of personalization potential.
Another interesting angle on this Durham+Co study: It also found that while 26% of boomer respondents to the donation appeal made their gift online, a full 50% of those in the Generation X and Y cohorts did so.
So while your constituents grow increasingly net-savvy they still prefer to hear from you via direct mail. Therefore, the time to eliminate snail mail has not come yet. Make sure to use a good balance between both.