Donation Strategy is Key to Growth

Direct Mail boost to your online donations

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”, Mark Twain. Philanthropy is in our nature, and perhaps nothing captures the essence of giving better than Mark Twain’s iconic quote. We see people in need, and we want to help. The World Giving Index ranked Canada the 6th most giving nation in the world in 2021. However, the pandemic has reversed the growth of giving with more people in need of assistance. Forty-six percent of charities are reporting an increase in demand at the same time they are experiencing a decrease in charitable donations. Canada’s giving score decreased from 61% in 2014, to 49% in 2021. Thirty-six percent of Canadians say they plan to give less this year due to financial concerns related to Covid-19, making it challenging for charitable organizations to meet their donation targets. Strategy has become a critical component of increasing donations for fundraising organizations. Although there has been an 86% increase in online donations since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, overall donations are down approximately 10%. The pandemic has reversed the growth of donations with more people in need, and large fundraising organizations are seeing an additional decline in part because people want a more direct connection to the money they donate. The current trend towards crowdfunding and other direct donations, combined with the overwhelming clutter of e-mails that people receive, has necessitated a multi-channel strategy for fund raising organizations to maintain and grow their donations.

“What we are seeing is that with a significant increase in e-mail clutter and online and telephone scams over the last 18 months, there is a consumer trust issue, making direct mail a more attractive option for fundraising campaigns”, says John Leonard, V.P. Sales and Marketing, Cover-All Business Communication Management. The consumer trust rate of direct mail is high, with 76% of people saying they trust ads they receive in the mail. That is why direct mail combined with digital ads increase conversion rates by an impressive 28%. “Our clients understand the importance of direct mail to the success of their charitable donation programs because they see it in their results. They know that many consumers contribute online only after being contacted through direct mail”, says Leonard.

A direct mail marketing calendar strategy also works to drive donations as consumers expect their donation requests to come in the mail like clockwork. With 26% of donors giving to a non-profit on Giving Tuesday and over 30% of all charitable donations take place in December with End-of-Year Appeals, the next few months can make or break an organization’s annual donation goals. What can’t be discounted is that the pandemic has also made receiving direct mail a welcome connection to the outside world and depending on e-mail campaigns alone can leave charities falling short of their goals. Only 20-30% of e-mails are opened by consumers while up to 90% of direct mail pieces are opened. Brand managers also realize that digital marketing doesn’t hold attention long enough for a brand to tell its story. On average, people will only spend between 15 and 20 seconds reading a marketing e-mail while they spend an average of 30 minutes each day reading their physical mail.

An organization can also maximize donation goals with custom-tailored data programming that identifies historical support patterns, applies calculations to show future values, and creates customized and relevant content for recipients. Data programming also provides the ability to segment an audience by average gift size.  For donors that make $10 donations, e-mail campaigns may be sufficient, however larger donors require a more high-touch campaign like that provided by direct mail. Consumers are passionate about certain causes and ensuring that communication is specifically targeted in a 1:1 fashion will help to boost donation results. A well-designed mail piece can help create a lasting impression. “It’s not good enough to send a standardized mail piece to everyone, consumers want to be spoken to as an individual and reward those organizations that do”, says Leonard.

What is clear is that the last 4 to 6 weeks of this year will define the success of a charitable organization’s annual target. Vying for an ever-shrinking supply of donations, while demand has never been higher, requires that marketers employ the best possible strategies to ensure they meet their goals.

John Leonard is V.P., Sales & Marketing for Cover-All Business Communication Management.  He works with his team and clients to develop relevant and effective communications by using data and technology. Contact Cover-All Business Communication Management to find out more at (416) 752-8100.

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