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Joanne Fritz

No Escape from Direct Mail Fundraising

By February 19, 2013

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Detail from Dunham & Co study on direct mail vs online giving.

The recent charitable giving stats from Blackbaud show that online giving in 2012 rose 10.7%, while the overall rise in giving was only 1.7%.

But wait! That doesn't mean that we're going to go all online any time soon. Another study by Dunham+Company, and reported by IDM Integrated Direct Marketing shows that direct mail actually drives much of that online giving. The study (first released in May 2012) discovered that 17% of donors who gave on a charitable website in 2011 said that they were prompted by a direct mail letter. Only 5% said they gave online as the result of receiving an email from the charity.

Furthermore, fully 50% of donors surveyed in 2012 said that they prefer giving online when they get a letter from a charity. That is up from about a third of donors who said that in 2010.

So direct mail leads to online giving and does so much more than email fundraising appeals.

Like I said, there's no escape...at least for now.

Just make sure that when those donors arrive at your website, they feel welcomed and the process is easy. Mastering multi-channel is the secret sauce of fundraising for now. To see how some charities flub up once donors arrive at their websites, see this blog post from Heather Mansfield which details her experience trying to donate online to 31 nonprofits.

Once a donor has given online though is just the beginning. Online donors are notoriously fickle, no matter how they got to your site, especially if this is their first gift. The trick is to turn them into long-term supporters by fixing your leaky bucket.

The Dunham+Company survey which has much more about giving is here.

Read more about multi-channel and how to keep donors coming back:

Image: Dunham+Company Study

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