Direct Mail Still Delivers the Dollars

Press Release from Dataman Group Direct

Year-in, year-out, direct mail continues to deliver for non-profits and charities.

According to a November 2103 survey by global research company, YouGov , direct mail is still the strongest tactic for donations, aside from donating to a regularly supported charity.  While social media is beginning to be a significant motivator for younger Americans, it is still not delivering the dollars that are generated through well-crafted direct mail campaigns.

Here are some significant findings, broken out by channel:

  • ·          One-fifth (21%) of respondents cited direct mail solicitations as the prompt for their most recent gift.
  • ·          Mail arriving in the home is particularly successful with those over age 55; 25% of those 55+ made their last gift in response to direct mail compared to 14% of 18-34 year olds.
  • ·          Lower income households also respond strongly to direct mail with 29% of those earning $40k or less responding to direct mail for their last donation, compared to 18% of those earning $80k+.  


  • ·          More than one in 10 (12%) report being prompted for their last gift by something they heard about on the radio, on TV or in print.  It seems a stronger prompt for men (14%) than women (10%). 
  • ·          One in 5 (21%) of those who have supported a crisis or disaster related charity in the last 12 months were motivated by mass media for their last charitable gift.
  • ·          Lower income givers are also swayed with the media with 17% of their last gift being prompted by information they heard or saw in the media.


  •   ·          Although social media has yet to take off as a major prompt, with only 6% of adults responding to Facebook or Twitter for their last gift, social media has become a motivator for 18—34 year olds.
  • ·          11% of the younger demographic responded to social media for their last donation, compared to only 3% of those 55+.  
  • ·          Social media appears to have a higher response rate for low-income households (11%).
  • ·          Email prompted 10% of respondents to make their last gift. 
  • ·          Those over 55 (12%) are slightly more likely to respond to email than younger responders (9%). 
What does this mean for non-profits?

Charities should not put all their eggs into one media channel "basket".   While many non-profits I speak to believe they will raise significant dollars through electronic or social media marketing, it is simply not the case.

Charitable organizations need to continue using direct mail to bring in the dollars. They must continually think about the ways they can spend their marketing dollars more wisely, whether it be modeling current contributors and cloning "look-alikes", working with their printers and considering different paper stocks, or spreading out the costs of a direct mail campaign via "drip marketing".

Regardless of the media channel, all solicitations – whether they be via direct mail, e-mail or through mass marketing, must look professional and take into consideration the agency's brand and promise.

Dataman Group has been working with non-profit organizations in the US for over 30 years.

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