Direct mail: King of the fundraising mediums

The Internet and the devices that have been developed to allow instant access from nearly anywhere on globe have changed the way nonprofits reach out to their donors. However, a recent survey reveals that despite the celebrated advancements of technology, direct mail is still the most effective medium to solicit donations.

Earlier this week, YouGov, a global research company, revealed data supporting the claim that direct mail remains a lucrative fundraising option for charities. Of all the survey respondents, 21 percent cited direct mail solicitations as the driver behind their most recent gifts. This is compared to 12 percent who were prompted by television and a surprisingly underwhelming 6 percent for social media.

Building the right direct mail piece
While social media and other Internet fundraising outlets are likely to increase their prevalence in the future, driving contributors to more online donation services, at the moment direct mail stands as the most successful option available to hopeful charities.

Enjoy these tips for crafting the perfect direct mail piece:

Use the information you have available to you
Understanding your donors, both existing and prospective, will be instrumental in deciding how to put together your materials. Use existing mailing lists and social contacts to determine the demographics of your direct mail audience. Things like gender, age and even what kinds of things they like to do in their free time will give you the insight to assemble well-targeted direct pieces. Not only will these parcels help encourage donations, but they'll also work towards establishing relationships and long-term donors.

Content over creativity
reativity is never a bad thing when it comes to direct mail. That being said, creativity should be a complement to content. If you deliver a nice mail piece on thick card stock inlaid with all manner of glitter and sheen, it might catch the recipient's eye, but without solid content, the potential contributor is likely to cast it aside as an impressive waste of paper. Think of creativity as a means to draw in the eye and lead the donor to your message.

Call to action
No one wants to read a novel when it comes to direct mail. Don't lose the interest of a contributor because you've chosen verbosity over succinctness. Have a point, get there, and provide the recipient with an actionable response. In this case, the response is likely to be a donation. But that doesn't have to be the case. Direct mail can also be used to elicit volunteering. There are plenty of good charities to donate to. If a contributor is particularly passionate about your mission, don't be surprised if he or she would rather donate time over money.

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