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Direct Marketing » Tips & Facts, Best Practice | 16.01.2015

Cutting direct mail costs in the charity sector - should you branch out into SMS marketing?


Direct mail has been found to be a very effective way for charities to get their message across. Receiving informative and engaging leaflets and letters in the post is a great way of consolidating the support of those who have been loyally following your charity for a number of years. This method of communication is also perfect for capturing the attention of new donors and supporters. In its most recent report on the issue, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) found that the UK charity sector has been spending around £3.2 billion annually on fundraising and publicity costs. Much of this money will have been spent on direct mailouts to existing and potential supporters, so it is important to think about whether this is the most effective way for charities to communicate.

One of the key competitors to direct mailouts in the current business climate is text message marketing. This is the process of sending out mass text messages to those supporters who have provided the charity with their mobile phone number. SMS marketing is proving a popular and cost effective way to communicate, with Forbes stating in a recent article that over 42 percent of consumers actively prefer mobile marketing to direct paper mailouts. SMS marketing is very flexible, too, enabling charities and companies to vary the content of their messages without additional spending.

And yet, nothing can quite replace the physical feel of a letter or a leaflet in the post. Especially when it comes to charities, having a physical leaflet that can be stuck on the fridge or noticeboard which informs a supporter about the progress of their favoured charity, is a great motivational tool. The solution? Why not try combining elements of SMS marketing with direct paper mailouts? Using these two media in conjunction with each other will enable charities to create a profitable and engaging symbiotic effect. For instance, text messages could be sent out to supporters telling them to look out for a special something that is coming soon in the post: a brilliant way of building up some interest and anticipation.