Direct Mail Isn’t Dead

In an increasingly digital world, the charm of direct mail might seem like it's fading into the background. But let's clear something up right away: Direct Mail fundraising isn't just alive; it's thriving!
An illustration of an envelope with money coming out of it

Direct Mail fundraising is important

Picture this – you’ve just grabbed your mail from the mailbox, sifting through the usual suspects. Bills, flyers, coupons, and then you see it – an envelope from a non-profit organization you know and respect. You open it and find a beautifully crafted letter, compelling, personalized, and asking for your support. It’s tangible, it’s real, and it feels inclusive.

In an increasingly digital world, the charm of direct mail might seem like it’s fading into the background. But let’s clear something up right away: Direct Mail fundraising isn’t just alive; it’s thriving! 🥳

Why is Direct Mail still a thing?

For one, Direct Mail has a knack for cutting through the digital clutter. We’re all bombarded with countless emails, pop-ups, ads, and social media posts every day. In comparison, a well-crafted direct mail piece can feel like a pleasant break from the screen, a personal touch in an impersonal world. And that can lead to some incredible returns on investment.

According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), direct mail boasts a 4.4% response rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.12%

All ages welcome

And here’s another surprise guest at the Direct Mail party – young donors. You might think that younger, more tech-savvy donors would prefer digital communication. But according to research, millennials and Gen Z respond positively to direct mail. In fact, 92% of young shoppers say they prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions. 🤯

The magic is in the mix

But, as with everything, balance is key. The winning strategy isn’t about choosing Direct Mail over digital or vice versa. It’s about integrating both into a cohesive, multi-channel fundraising strategy.

A donation appeal via direct mail could be followed up with an email, reminding the donor about the appeal and providing a quick, convenient way to donate online. Or a successful social media fundraising campaign could spark a direct mail piece to supporters, detailing the campaign’s success and thanking them for their contributions.

Making Direct Mail work for you

  1. Segment your audience: Tailor your message to different donor segments to make it more personal and relevant.
  2. Tell compelling stories: Inspire your donors with success stories and testimonials. Show them the impact of their gift.
  3. Have a clear call to action: Make it as easy as possible for your donors to give. Include a self-addressed envelope or clear instructions on how to donate online.
  4. Track and measure: As with all fundraising efforts, monitor what works and what doesn’t. Adjust your strategies based on your findings.

So, there you have it. Far from being dead, Direct Mail is alive, kicking, and ready to ramp up your fundraising game. So why not give it a try? After all, who doesn’t love getting a well-crafted, thoughtful piece of mail?


[1] “DMA 2015 Statistical Fact Book”, Direct Marketing Association (DMA)[2] “Why Direct Mail Marketing is Far From Dead”, Forbes, June 2019

About the author

Lesley Cole

Campaign quarterback, thought leader, and former band geek.