Why is Traditional Direct Mail Fundraising Still Relevant?

For all the buzz about online marketing, you’d think direct mail had died as a source of nonprofit fundraising. The truth is that direct mail fundraising, and other traditional approaches, are still outperforming online channels by a wide margin!

Direct Mail Fundraising

What channels are the most effective for fundraising?

According to Blackbaud’s 2015 Charitable Giving Report, online giving represented 7.1% of all charitable donations during 2015. This includes donations made through all online channels – email, social media, mobile devices. While this number does represent growth, it also means that more than 90% of fundraising still comes from traditional sources!

What about donor retention?

For nonprofits, one of the greatest strengths of online channels is access to a wide population of potential new donors and volunteers. Offline channels play a critical role in helping your donors to renew their giving! In fact, npEngage reports based on information collected by Blackbaud that only 3% of offline donors renewed their giving online. Conversely, 32% of online donors renewed offline. In other words, online donors move to offline channels ten times more often than offline donors move to online channels.

What does this mean for your organization?

These statistics make a compelling case for a multi-channel approach to fundraising. While online channels offer great ways to raise awareness for your organization, the vast majority of fundraising still comes from traditional channels such as direct mail. In order to facilitate donor retention, you should make it as easy as possible for your supporters to transition from digital to offline channels. You can read some of our thoughts on multi-channel marketing, including our tips for moving donors to traditional channels, in our previous blog post on the topic.

What is your experience with multi-channel fundraising? Please share your comments below.

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