Thinking about ditching the mail portion of your next campaign? Think again! With all the digital tools we now have at our fingertips, it’s tempting to dismiss physical letters as a thing of the past. But you might be surprised to find out that messages in mailboxes still produce serious results.

This is Why Direct Mail Works

  1. Direct mail is memorable
    With so many organizations competing for space in peoples’ inboxes, the mailbox is a place where you can truly stand out. One study suggested that people pay more 50% more attention to direct mail than its digital counterparts, while another reported that recipients are 70% more likely to remember your brand when they receive physical mail as opposed to digital.
  2. Direct mail funds give you flexibility
    A successful grant application is worth celebrating, but grant money is often restricted to a specific program stream or usage. You know your organization best, and funds from your direct mail campaign can be directed to wherever you feel they are most needed (hello, tricky-to-fund operational costs!), creating maximum impact.
  3. Direct mail can help you understand your current and potential donors
    A direct mail campaign gives you an opportunity to approach your stakeholders with an ask – don’t be afraid to think outside the typical donor box. Could your volunteers be donors? Your staff team and board members? What about those who have benefited from your services in the past? If you never ask, you’ll never know! These campaigns are also a critical tool for evaluating current donor giving behaviour and identifying those who may be ready to invest more.
  4. Direct mail makes people take action
    When it comes to fundraising the ultimate goal is to rack up those donation dollars, and mail has a proven track record of getting people to write that check (or click that donate button). The numbers don’t lie – the average email response rate is 0.1% while direct mail has an average response rate of 5.3%.
  5. Direct mail feels personal
    We read countless emails every day, but personalized mail is becoming less and less common. 70% of consumers say that direct mail is more personal than online interactions, and when you create that personal connection donors are much more likely to reach for their wallets.

Doing Direct Mail the Right Way

It’s clear that direct mail can be very effective when done right. We’ve talked about the whys, but the hows are just as important. If you’re ready to take the plunge and create your campaign, here are five of our tried-and-true secrets to success.

  1. Make it part of the plan
    Benjamin Franklin once said, “if you fail to plan you are planning to fail”. Direct mail is effective, but it only works as part of a larger fundraising and marketing plan. Before you start crafting your letters, make sure your messaging fits in to the bigger picture (don’t have an annual fundraising and marketing plan? We can help you with that!). 
  2. Make your message succinct and clear
    The social profit organizations we work with do so many great things, and it can be hard not to pack in every statistic and story that will fit in an envelope. But to keep your readers’ interest, your letter needs to be short and to the point. The most effective asks include enough information to make your need clear but omit any unnecessary details. Think of one impactful story or a couple of impressive anecdotes that support your ask and leave the rest for next year’s campaign.
  3. Layer your messaging
    We established the effectiveness of direct mail, but that doesn’t mean your letter should do all the heavy lifting. A mail piece is most effective as the centrepiece of a layered strategy. A donor often needs to be reminded of your organization multiple times via multiple mediums before they finally decide to give, so don’t forget to include digital and traditional media as part of your campaign plan.
  4. Be strategic with your timing
    Now that you’ve planned out your multilayered approach, figure out when each piece will go live. If your letter is landing in peoples’ mailboxes on November 15th, you don’t want all your supporting content to be delivered on the same day. A gradual approach will ensure that potential donors are reminded of your message on a consistent basis until they finally make that donation.
  5. Look beyond dollars in
    Direct mail is more than just a tool to drive donations – your campaign is an investment the long-term success of your fundraising program. It builds awareness around your organization and acts as a marketing tool for your cause. It’s an opportunity to measure and test what works and what doesn’t. When reflecting on your campaign’s return on investment, be sure to report on the wins you’ve garnered in all areas. And, while we love direct mail, some people might not, and that’s ok! One or two people asking to be removed from your mailing list does not equal campaign failure.

Need help with your next direct mail campaign? Drop us a line! We’ve got lots more tricks up our sleeves that will help you make your next campaign the best one yet.