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Direct Marketing » Tips & Facts, Best Practice | 05.02.2016

Why has direct mail stayed relevant for the charity sector?

Fundraising is one of the biggest challenges for charities, with so many organisations out there seeking donations it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Emails are easily deleted, volunteer fundraisers are often ignored in the streets and after the call centre scandals of 2015 their use and reach has been momentarily limited due to a lack of trust.

The Direct Marketing Association has previously estimated that charities spend around £250 million every year on direct mail, but why?

Whether you’re aware of a charity or not, holding something in your hand has a greater appeal to even the most tech savvy of us. Direct mail appeals to our nature, the sensory experience of being able to hold something, feel it, and see it instinctively appeals to us more than just seeing it on a screen. As a collective, psychological studies have found that people trust mail more than digital and that has a lot to do with this experience.

Unlike e-shots, the majority of direct mail pieces aren’t thrown away upon receiving them. This gives you the potential to create a wider audience reach for your campaign when taking into account the sharing of mail over email. Obviously this is dependent on several factors; your data list; your artwork; and the content of your letter.

Charities, like any organisation, will use their CRM database when sending out campaigns. There’s also the possibility of buying in data to reach a new audience. Clean, accurate data will minimise your returned mail and ensure the right audience and maximise your ROI.

The content of your direct mail piece is the key to grabbing the attention of your recipients. It’s important to make sure that your branding is clearly visible and that your message is clear and concise. The use of imagery and colour, combined with catchy taglines will draw people in if you’re using a postcard format. Direct personalisation on postcard mailings has proven to increase response rates, causing recipients to feel valued and their efforts appreciated. Another popular, and effective, mailing method for charities is including a response form or donation slip with a reply envelope.

Most importantly, our attitudes to mail make a direct mail campaign a great support for digital activities. An email could be deleted before it’s been clicked on to open, we’re all aware we do it, and PPC advertising could be missed simply due to the sheer number of adverts we come across each day.