AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

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The Resurgence of Direct Mail

man opening letterLast month, we shared how creativity and flexibility helped many AMPERAGE clients continue to raise funds last year in spite of Covid-19 and other global concerns. In this Fundraising FUSE, we’ll examine how the pandemic may have even aided in the resurgence of direct mail fundraising.

AMPERAGE clients can attest to the success of direct mail efforts in 2020. Some have purchased mailing lists through our media department to reach new audiences and donors. Our media professionals can help identify mailing parameters that ideally suited to an organization — especially in targeting specific age groups and high-income or high net worth donors.

One client realized responses of nearly 2% on a mailing to 2,800 households — more than doubling the returns from its prior two years — by emphasizing business owners and people in management. Another client targeted 11,000 affluent households headed by community-minded people and gained a 1.7% response and over $100,000 in new gifts.

A typical purchased list should average a response rate of 1%, so a gain in even one percentage-point can be significant in adding new donors. At AMPERAGE, we believe the higher response rates at year-end 2020 can be attributed to a few factors:

  1. Well-researched, targeted list purchases.
  2. Compelling letters and mailing pieces, including the optional response of making online instead of mailed-in gifts.
  3. People want to be asked to give, and because of the pandemic were not being asked as much the previous year.
  4. Some people may have been in better positions in 2020 to give than in the past due to increased incomes and/or less spending on entertainment and consumer items.
  5. Incorporation of a multi-channel campaign with email or video complimenting the direct mail piece. Implementing digital methods with your mail piece can have an increased response rate of 28% (Ballantine).

One note of caution when implementing your direct mail strategy for 2021. The United States Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission is considering increasing postage rates 6 – 8.5% depending on the class of mail. If the new rates pass, the increase will go into effect this summer which may impact your fiscal year budget.

Written by:

Melissa provides fundraising counsel for AMPERAGE’s nonprofit clients, leading feasibility studies and providing solutions that drive successful fundraising campaign results. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), she uses her experience and extensive skill set to continually advance her fundraising practices and develop campaign-specific strategies, materials and training to help clients reach their campaign goals and advance their mission. Melissa has vast experience working in the nonprofit sector, having served in development and leadership roles with Sisters of Mercy and the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, she has served as a volunteer and board member with local nonprofits, such as the Catherine McAuley Center. Faith-based organizations and causes are of particular interest to Melissa. Melissa moves the needle by always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve professionally. She is currently president of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council and a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Eastern Iowa Chapter. Melissa holds a Master of Strategic Leadership degree from Mount Mercy University. This busy professional, wife and mother enjoys sports and live music in her free time. A fan of Cubs baseball and Iowa Hawkeye football, Melissa and family enjoy football tailgating, where she’s known for her breakfast burritos. She enjoys the local band scene but says a Foo Fighters concert is her all-time favorite.