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New Study: Direct Mail Drives Donation Better Than E-Mail

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.

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1 comment

Avatar Allison Keech Sanka

As far as emails are concerned, we recommend them in conjunction with a direct mail piece so the two work together. Because the planned giving decision making process is a high involvement “purchase” it’s unlikely that a single email will drive a gift or deter someone from giving, in the same way that one mailer or letter will. It’s really about two things: frequency and variety of your marketing messaging. Having frequent contacts throughout the year so that messaging is present when the time to make a planned gift arrives.

For tips on increasing open rates of planned giving emails, check out The Planned Giving Company’s blog post about effective email marketing: http://www.plannedgivingcompany.com/links/blogs/10-tips-for-email-marketing-to-loyals.html

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