Years ago, I watched millions of pieces of mail being sent out every month. This was for a variety of things. For example, new products being sold, various club memberships, and, of course, nonprofit organizations asking for donations.
Today, this volume has dwindled drastically because of the rising costs of direct mail and the use of email in its place.
More and more, however, we have come to see that email as a stand-alone solution to combat rising direct mail costs is ineffective. After all, it isn’t free. Time is needed to write, edit, and send out email communications and time is money. People are being paid to do email communications.
What about people who don’t have email? They are missed or worse, lost. And there are those who look at an email address and immediately hit the “delete” button because of a lack of interest.
Last, but not least, what about tracking? If emails are being deleted but not tagged as spam, you can be thinking that there still is a relationship; in reality, there isn’t. Those individuals are lost.
Through it all, direct mail still has a “Made You Look” appeal to it. Most people want to know who they’re getting mail from. This creates interest which causes the recipient to find out what is being asked of them (at least as far as nonprofits are concerned).
Lately, our customers have been coming back to us with really outstanding feedback regarding how much they raised in their last direct mail appeal. Yes, it’s true. People are returning to direct mail. It helps to build relationships with existing donors and create new ones with 1st time supporters in so many more ways than email can.
That does not, however, mean that we are suggesting that email be ignored as a communication channel. On the contrary, email when wrapped around a direct mail piece as a primer before the piece is delivered and as a reminder after it has been delivered is a very potent communication cocktail. Try it!
Do you agree? What are you seeing at your nonprofit?