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Old Man River - That's Direct Mail

With so many “free” marketing channels out there, it might be tempting to transition much of your fundraising to electronic media. However, direct mail remains the strongest, most effective way for nonprofits to solicit donations.

According to YouGov “Giving Report (2013), 21% of people gave to a nonprofit in 2012 because of a print solicitation. This is compared to

  • 12% who gave through mass media

  • 6% through social media and

  • 10% via email.

To keep your donations flowing, our best advice to you is to continue doing direct mail. It really is like Old Man River in that it does just keep rolling along in spite of all the predictions of its imminent demise. In fact, just the opposite is proving to be true.

What has happened is really amazing. Instead of dying a slow death and going away, direct mail, especially nonprofit direct mail, has become the hub of true multi-channel marketing efforts. Consider a wheel on a bicycle with the various spokes connecting to a central location. That’s what direct mail is – the hub or central location of all marketing efforts.

Here’s an indisputable truth: people like helping nonprofits do good. They like the feeling that comes from making an investment in a cause that makes the world (or at least their tiny part of it) a better place to live. When you use direct mail, you help to make people feel a part of your mission and you make it easier for them to open their wallets to be a part of your success.

Need more convincing? How about the fact that 3/4th of all donations to nonprofits come from direct mail?

To all those doubters out there remember, print and mail are still the most effective way for nonprofits to solicit donations.

Bottom line: people love to get mail, tangible mail in their mailboxes. Even younger generations, those constantly on social media and email sites, like and prefer classic direct mail. So give people what they want and you’ll receive the benefits.

If you don’t agree with this idea, I’d love to hear your counter argument. Please share right here, right now.

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