Why Direct Mail is Key for the Charity Sector

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Why direct mail is key for the charity sector

Charities play an essential role in bringing support and services to those who are most in need. As the sector fights to optimise funds and retain donors, how can charities ensure that their brand can make an impact and invoke action? In this blog, we look at direct mail as an effective way to attract donors, engage stakeholders and stand out for the right reasons.    

Key issues for the charity sector in 2019

We’re in a period of challenging times. Brexit-related pressures and an uncertain economy make for gloomy headlines. State funding for charities is being cut in this time of fiscal challenges. And on top of that, charitable organisations are needed more than ever to take the strain from overstretched local authorities.

Half of all charities receive most of their funding via donations and purchases. The National Lottery also provides a significant income for the voluntary sector.

With less funding from the state, charities need to work harder to attract even more donations and Lottery grants. And once the donations have been received, charities must use the money effectively to deliver frontline services and support. The need for cost-efficiency is clear.  

Charity sector facts and figures

  • There are nearly 200,000 registered charities in the UK
  • Charities fund almost half of all UK medical research
  • The total income of all charities combined is about £48 billion. This is higher than the Higher Education sector, and about £10 billion less than Tesco.
  • The voluntary sector contributes approximately £15.3bn to UK GVA – more than the arts or agriculture.

Fundraising and the value of print

With so many marketing channels available to your charity, how can you know if you’re making the most of your fundraising efforts and budget? It’s perhaps too easy to think that digital is the only way forward. That print is dead. But let us reassure you that’s not the case. Mail has always delivered a great return on investment (ROI) and still does.

Royal Mail MarketReach have conducted a series of research projects to understand what physical mail means to consumers. It’s fascinating stuff.

“We’ve looked into consumers’ homes and found that mail lives a rich, complex and surprisingly long life beyond the doormat. We’ve looked into their hearts and uncovered the deep emotional responses that are triggered by sensations of touch. And we’ve literally looked into their heads, using the latest neuroscience techniques to discover that mail has a profound and direct impact on the brain.”

— Jonathan Harman, MD, Royal Mail MarketReach The Private Life of Mail

Why should charities use direct mail?

With the right messaging direct mail has the power to provoke your emotions. Messages which can reward and excite, shock or concern. Fundamentally, mail can deliver the most important benefit for your charity – driving your stakeholders to take action. Whether that’s increasing awareness; showcasing how your charity makes use of donations; appealing for donations or to encourage engagement with your cause.  

Direct mail vs. email

The good news is direct mail marketing is subject to fewer data privacy restrictions than email. So direct mail is a great way to contact stakeholders who may otherwise be unreachable. Take a look at our post: 10 ways direct mail delivers post GDPR for more information.

Integrate your direct mail and email marketing

For maximum impact, you need to plan and implement an integrated marketing campaign that brings the best of digital and print together.

A 2018 JICMAIL report found that direct mail achieves high open rates (57.1% addressed mail) and read rates (60.5% door drops).

Complement this with rich, online content for even greater engagement.

Measuring the success of direct mail

When done correctly, direct mail can be one of the most cost-effective ways for your charity to reach your audience. From the outset you can estimate your response rate so you can determine the quantity of the mailing needed to achieve your goals.

One of the benefits of direct mail marketing is that its value can be measured. You can track your response rate using personalised URLs, response telephone numbers or source codes. For even more information on how you can ensure you achieve the best results with your direct mail campaign, we have 9 tips to maximise your direct mail ROI.

Establish your direct mail KPIs

First and foremost, you should identify the goals you want your campaign to achieve. For example: Raise awareness? Generate leads? Increase donations? Below are 5 examples of direct mail KPIs to help you accurately measure the success of your direct mail campaign:

  • Response rate – the percentage of people who responded to your mail using any of the tracking methods mentioned above
  • Conversion rate – the percentage of respondents who took the action requested in your mailer
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)– tells you how much it cost to secure each new stakeholder
  • Revenue per donation – revenue per donation subtracts the CPA from the average donation to show how much profit you made from each donation on average 
  • Return on Investment (ROI) – the holy grail of KPIs! ROI will show you how successful your campaign was.

Don’t forget to record and save the results from each campaign. That way, you’ll be able to compare each campaign’s KPI data and learn how to improve future campaigns.

Effective Print Management drives cost efficiency

Print management can provide a significant benefit to your organisation by focussing on the detail. Implementing a robust print management solution will enable you to:

  • achieve deadlines within budget
  • ensure the most cost-efficient and waste-reducing formats are used
  • streamline the production process
  • cleanse your data for optimum ROI
  • achieve better postal rates
  • make better use of in-house resources (both people and financial).

Direct mail marketing made easy

Let us help your charity with your next (or first) direct mail campaign. Get in touch to talk about our print management service which will ensure you’re getting the best quality and the best value for your budget. We can design, print and manage the entire process on your behalf.

We’d love to discuss our fully managed, bespoke Web-to-Print solution, tailored to the exact needs of your organisation. You can count on our professional knowledge of all things design and print plus our experience of working with charities to deliver your project on time, within budget and without fuss.

Read more
> Case Study: London’s Air Ambulance Charity
> Our work in the charity and non-profit sector

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