Yes, grandma tweets daily about her arthritis and buys her cat food on eBay, but how does she prefer to donate, online or offline?
Yes, mailing a fundraising letter costs more than sending an email appeal. But which method brings in the most net revenue for most non-profits?
Yes, you prefer to communicate by email than by mail, but which method do your most profitable donors prefer?
The answers to these questions are best settled by the facts. The debate between direct mail fundraising versus online fundraising is settled, at least for the next 10 years. Here’s why.
Fact #1: The majority of donors give their first gift by direct mail
Direct mail is responsible for 75% of new donors. Only 16% of new donors make their first gift online. Source: Blackbaud 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report.
Fact #2: The majority of donated revenue arrives by mail
The typical nonprofit in North America receives more than 75% of its total donated revenue through direct mail but only 10% online. Source: Blackbaud 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report.
Fact #3: The majority of North American donors give through only one channel — direct mail
Most donors give by direct mail as their only vehicle for donations. Source: Blackbaud 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report.
Fact #4: Canadian donors prefer to donate by mail, not email
Forty percent of Canadian donors prefer to mail a cheque, followed by donating in cash or by a cheque made in person. Only 17% prefer to donate online. Source: Marketing Research Group Fact Sheet: Nonprofit and Voluntary Associations. Canada Post, 2007.
Fact #5: Canadian donors prefer to be solicited by mail, not email
The most preferred method of receiving a donation request is through printed mail
addressed to the donor. This method is also the most commonly used, with
two thirds of donors reporting to have received this kind of solicitation in the last year. Source: Marketing Research Group Fact Sheet: Nonprofit and Voluntary Associations. Canada Post, 2007.
Fact #6: Canadians have a higher opinion of direct mail markers than email marketers
When asked for their overall opinion of companies that use direct mail and email advertising, 31% of respondents said they had a positive opinion towards companies using addressed direct mail, while only 15% said the same for email. Source: Consumer Attitudes Towards Direct Marketing, 2008.
Fact #7: Canadians pay attention to direct mail more than email
In response to the question, “To which direct marketing advertising method do you pay the most attention?” 24% of respondents said addressed direct mail but a mere 4% said email. Source: Consumer Attitudes Towards Direct Marketing, 2008.
If you still want to argue about the effectiveness of direct mail fundraising versus email fundraising, look me up in a decade. By then, things may have changed. For now, I’m putting my money where today’s donors put it, on direct mail.