With the ease and widespread acceptance of online fundraising many people speculate that direct mail is a dying fundraising channel. However, “direct mail is over seven times more effective than all digital channels combined, according to the Direct Marketing Association Response Rate Report 2015.”
In our Case Study, Growing a Donor Database, available here, we examine the effectiveness of a direct mail program for a US-based non-profit that provides aid and services overseas. Before we began to work with the charity, they had no direct mail program, and their database of donors had been growing slowly and barely outpacing attrition.
As a part of the program, we developed and mailed 2 different prospect (new donor acquisition) packages to 10 donor lists of third party non-profits. We selected those non-profits whose mission gave us some reason to believe their donors might also consider making a donation to our client.
We split all the lists in half and mailed each half one of the two separate packages. This allowed us to determine which lists worked and which of the two packages worked best.
After the initial mailing was successful, we mailed two more rollouts of the more successful package.
In addition to these prospect mailings, LDMI began developing and mailing monthly direct mail to the house file consisting of the newly acquired donors and the charity’s existing donors.
The results were astounding. Despite the fact that Prospect mailings tend to lose money, every round of Prospect mail profited. The Prospect mailings brought in over 3,000 new donors, resulting in a 297% increase in the total number of donors.