Nonprofits have an obligation to their donors to use funds wisely, so it should come as no surprise that many have transitioned to digital marketing for its affordability and ease. But while it may be budget-friendly, digital marketing has significantly lower response rates than direct mail. That’s part of why savvy nonprofit organizations still utilize direct mail to reach existing and potential supporters. What can direct mail accomplish that digital methods cannot? We’ll answer these questions and more to help you understand why direct mail for nonprofits is one of the top tools you should be using.
Potential Benefits of Direct Mail for Nonprofits
Complements Digital Marketing
While direct mail and digital marketing are often treated as separate entities, they can work together to enhance the overall effect of your campaign. In fact, campaigns that use both direct mail and digital resources enjoy a 118% better response rate than those exclusively relying on direct mail.
Increases Brand Awareness
If potential donors are not yet familiar with your organization, more exposure may motivate them to donate down the road, if not immediately. A multi-channel approach that incorporates several mediums may be even more effective, making direct mail a valuable addition to your campaign.
While potential donors’ inboxes are flooded with emails, their mailboxes probably receive less traffic. With minimal clutter to distract them from your message, a direct mail campaign can grab more attention than solely digital campaigns. It also affords recipients more time to review your message.
Provides a Tactile Experience
Receiving direct mail generally engages more senses than digital mediums. One of the most powerful is physical touch. A hard copy of your nonprofit’s latest mailing can create a more tangible connection to your organization and mission.
Direct mail is trackable, so you can gain insight into the campaign’s performance and measure it against your goals. It’s easier to calculate the total cost of and the response rate to a direct mail campaign than a digital campaign, giving you a more accurate idea of its ROI. Not only does this help you judge overall success, but you can also use the data to refine your approach over time.
Direct marketing material can be personalized at scale using variable data printing. For your nonprofit, this may enable you to address the recipient by name, thank them for previous donations or volunteering, or directly target the message based on the data you have available on their interests or demographic information. Data indicates that using three or more variable data points corresponds to an increase in response rates.
Types of Direct Mail Campaigns for Nonprofits
A house file campaign targets recipients already in your database, which may include volunteers, donors, and mailing list subscribers. This type of campaign is often more effective since recipients are already interested in your organization.
A prospecting campaign aims to forge new connections with recipients who do not yet have an established connection with your organization, in hopes of adding them to your house file mailing list. Using the right targeted mailing list can increase your odds of success.
Benchmarks of Success for Direct Mail Campaigns for Nonprofits
- Average Donation: The average donation is calculated by dividing the sum of campaign-related donations by the number of donors.
- Lifetime Value: This refers to how much an individual donor will contribute over their lifetime.
- Cost to Acquire: To determine this, divide the cost of the campaign by the number of donors it produced.
- Retention Rate: The retention rate can be calculated by dividing the number of donors who continue contributing after the campaign by the number of donors acquired during the campaign, then multiplying by 100.
At Design Distributors, we leverage decades of experience in full-service direct mail marketing to maximize results. As you consider your next nonprofit marketing campaign, contact us or request a free quote to learn more.