The Resurgence of Direct Mail
Last 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:
- Well-researched, targeted list purchases.
- Compelling letters and mailing pieces, including the optional response of making online instead of mailed-in gifts.
- People want to be asked to give, and because of the pandemic were not being asked as much the previous year.
- 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.
- 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.