What Makes Direct Mail So Efficient?

Direct mail might sound outdated and unappealing to some people. These same people have been saying “direct mail is dead” for many years. First, everyone assumed email would replace direct mail. Next, they thought social media would bypass direct mail. 

But the reality is, direct mail is here to stay. Direct mail is the most efficient way to raise money for your nonprofit! It is personal, tangible, and memorable. Donors trust it. Best of all, direct mail works! 

Did you know direct mail is still the biggest donation driver in the nonprofit sector? 78% of donations for nonprofits come from direct mail.

Need help getting started with direct mail fundraising

The team at GivingMail is here for you. GivingMail is powered by over 70 years of experience in nonprofit direct mail fundraising. We’ve worked with hundreds of the world’s largest charities, raising millions of dollars! We can help you create effective direct mail fundraising letters in just a few easy steps and be in the mail in days. 

What is it about direct mail that makes it so efficient? What are the advantages of direct mail over other channels? Let’s dive right into the power of direct mail. 

Direct mail has higher response rates.

Direct mail has significantly higher response rates than any other channel. The difference in response rates is quite striking.

Despite all the hype, the average response rate of online and social media channels is disappointingly low. The average email response rate is around 0.1%, the average response rate of paid search is 0.6%, and 0.2% for online display marketing.

Direct mail, on the other hand, has an average response rate of 5.3%.

As you know, higher response rates mean more donors, and more donors mean more money for your nonprofit! If you are looking to bring in large numbers of donors, you absolutely need to be utilizing direct mail. You won’t reach your goal without it!

Direct mail lifts other channels.

Direct mail is an efficient channel on its own, but what makes it even more impressive is the positive impact it has on other channels. Direct mail lifts the results of other channels, whether that is email marketing or telemarketing calls.  

Direct mail combined with digital advertising leads to conversion rates that are 28% higher. 

Direct mail doesn’t just improve online results; it’s a huge source of online donations! Donors are three times more likely to give online in response to a direct mail appeal than an email.

Direct mail is also a powerful tool for inspiring donors to become multichannel donors. Why does this matter? We know that multichannel donors are the most valuable and loyal donors for a nonprofit. 33% of online donors will switch channels to become offline donors. Compare that to just 3% of offline donors who switch to online giving. 

Direct mail is measurable.

One of the best parts of direct mail is how easy it is to measure. You will know definitively if a package works or doesn’t work, and you will be able to see which segments of donors responded well or did not respond favorably. You can dig into the results in detail, and then use those findings to strengthen future results and make your mailings even more efficient. 

Direct mail allows for testing.

Because direct mail is so easy to measure, it is also easy to set up tests. This allows for continuous learning about donors who give to your nonprofit, and ultimately, even stronger, more efficient results!

Even the most experienced direct mail fundraisers understand that their own instincts as to what will work or not work in the mail are often incorrect. Direct mail is very often counter-intuitive. What works for another nonprofit may not work for yours. Even long-held best practices don’t always hold up.

Luckily, with direct mail, you can test! You can answer so many questions as to what works and does not work through testing, and you can build upon our findings to create even stronger and more efficient communication for donors. 

Direct mail is personal.

There is just something different about receiving a piece of mail.  It is tangible, and it feels like it was sent just to you and from one person. Email, on the other hand, tends to feel cold and impersonal. It is rare to read an email you received from a nonprofit or company and feel like it was written just for you.

70% of people agree that direct mail feels more personal than digital ones. 

In today’s busy, often disconnected, world, people really do appreciate the personal touch of direct mail. Think about how you feel when you receive a thank you letter. Now compare that to how you feel when you receive a thank you email. 

Direct mail is memorable.

You want donors and potential donors to remember your nonprofit. The USPS reports that brand recall is 70% higher when customers are exposed to direct mail compared to digital. 

Why is that?

People spend more time interacting with direct mail compared to anything online. You hold the piece of direct mail, open it, flip through the pages, fill out a survey and (hopefully) make a donation. Direct mail can come in all sorts of colors, sizes, designs, and even textures. Email is more or less the same. 

Regardless of the reasons, the bottom line is that direct mail makes more of an impression on donors than other channels. And that’s a very good thing for your nonprofit.

Direct mail faces less competition.

Every year, people are receiving more and more emails and text messages. They are also receiving fewer pieces of direct mail. These trends are likely to continue.  

Many nonprofits see emails and social media as an easier way to fundraise. Direct mail, on the other hand, is a bit more work and money and requires a unique skill set. The end result is fewer nonprofits use the mail.

The U.S. Postal Services has seen a decline in mail volume every year since it reached a peak of around 213 billion units in 2006. In 2020, volume was down to 129.2 billion units.  The average person only receives around 2 pieces of mail each day!

The decline in direct mail is a positive thing for your nonprofit. It means there is less competition in the mailbox for the donor’s attention…and a greater opportunity for your nonprofit to stand out. 

Direct mail gets read.

Other channels, like email and social media, are pretty easy to ignore or delete with very little thought. Direct mail is different. People interact with it, even if just for a short time. 

Most people go to their mailbox (every day!), grab the mail, and take it inside. They then spend time sorting through the mail and decide what to keep and what to throw out. 

80% of direct mail recipients say they scan or read each piece of mail before throwing anything away. While it isn’t 100%, it is still an impressive amount of people that are seeing your direct mail piece.  

Donors like direct mail.

For some people, especially older people, direct mail is appealing. They like that it is personal, tangible and that they can take their time reading it. Many also trust direct mail much more than other channels. In fact, 56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing.

People don’t just trust direct mail, they also like it! According to the USPS, 55% of people said they “look forward” to seeing what’s in their mailbox. 56% stated that receiving and reading mail is a “real pleasure.” Just one more reason for you to feel good about sending donors direct mail!

You may have heard the phrase “direct mail is dead” for many years now. The reality is direct mail isn’t just alive, it is thriving for those nonprofits smart enough to use it. Direct mail is here to stay, likely for a very, very long time. Direct mail continues to be the workhorse of fundraising and it is still responsible for the majority of donations nonprofits receive. 

Direct mail is personal, efficient, and donors like it. Direct mail response rates are higher than other channels, plus direct mail lifts the results of other channels leading to a strong multi-channel approach.

Starting a direct mail program for your nonprofit might seem like a daunting task. That’s exactly why we started GivingMail! Reach out and let us help you get started with direct mail! 

GivingMail is powered by over 70 years of experience in nonprofit direct mail fundraising. When you partner with us, you gain access to our time-tested direct mail fundraising templates and strategy for your own nonprofit. We will help you design the best direct mail appeals to meet your goals, and then we take care of all of the legwork for you. It’s simple and efficient! 

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