Innovative charities are always seeking alternative ways of fundraising and recent reports suggest that email is a very popular method at present. However, is email replacing direct mail as a fundraising technique?
The fundraising standards board showed that the volume of direct mail sent by its members fell in the last year. There are some in the industry who believe that direct mail far outweighs email marketing. Direct mail has also been said to have been making a comeback as consumers tighten their inboxes - growing tired of junk email and spam.
Why use direct mail?
According to Orbital Mailing, a mailing company in Kent, “91% of prospect direct mail is opened compared to only 11% of e-mails!” This means that mail is at least skim read, meaning a chance to capture your audience’s attention, increasing the chance of donation or other conversions.
It’s a general consensus direct mail is still the head honcho when it comes to fundraising as email is only a fraction of direct mail income. Craig Linton of RLSB expects this trend to continue in the coming years saying: “Email fundraising works best in a genuine emergency, or when it complements direct mail: for example, when you send an email to donors a few days before a letter lands, or as a reminder to respond before a deadline.”
Fundraising and Marketing consultant Rachel Beer agrees saying: “Email hasn't replaced mail for development of donors recruited through mail, but it tends to be used for other warm audiences.” This touches upon the fact that different types of audiences are reachable through different means and medium of contact should be specific to these needs.
The best of both worlds
Perhaps the argument should not be either or when deciding between email and direct mail. Charities are best served by adopting a multi-channel approach, combining the use of a direct mail house, email marketing for charities, social media and digital advertising. This will help to create synergy between all media for more efficient fundraising and increased donations.