Why looking at response rates for planned giving campaigns is a rookie mistake.

iMarketSmart

So if you put your house up for sale and your real estate agent sent out thousands of postcards promoting your property, would you be concerned about the “response rate”? So do you worry about response rates or, rather, do you worry about generating solid leads for highly qualified buyers? So, when your planned giving marketing effort only garners a.0001% response rate, don’t make a rookie mistake by focusing on that.

Three Tips for Improving Direct Mail Marketing Response Rates for Nonprofit Organizations

Exactask Marketing

However, direct mail remains a viable component in the overall marketing strategy of any nonprofit and should not be overlooked when it comes to helping your nonprofit clients maximize the effectiveness of their fundraising. direct mail MarketingIn the Information Age, social media and other digital avenues now constitute the majority of fundraising efforts.

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3 ways to use direct mail effectively in the age of social media

iMarketSmart

Although direct mail requires printing and postage, we still include it in our marketing plans because it can be effective if you do it right. MarketSmart has generated millions of dollars for clients with direct mail. Often it is best to combine direct mail with an Internet landing page. To improve your response rate, you must send highly targeted, relevant offers and information to your prospects. Otherwise, it’s just “junk mail”.

Mail vs. Email: Pros & Cons of Each Fundraising Channel

NonProfit Hub

The two most prominent fundraising channels for nonprofits are direct mail and email. Here are the pros and cons of mail vs. email. . Direct Mail. Direct mail has been around for a long time, and it’s been the biggest fundraising channel since it’s inception.

Direct Mail Hanging In

The Agitator

The Direct Marketing Association notes in its recently released 2012 Response Rate Report that direct mail response rates have dropped nearly 25% over the past nine years. Even so, direct mail pulls a better overall response than digital channels. The report also says that: Cost per order or lead for acquisition campaigns were roughly equivalent for direct mail ($51.40), post card ($54.10), email ($55.24), and paid search ($52.58).

Acquisition: Using The Web To Boost Postal Mail Prospecting

The Agitator

How can you use online advertising to reinforce traditional direct mail campaigns and boost returns? And the reason was/is that most online advertising models — whether based on contextual or keyword search or behavioral profiling—don’t work for the following reasons: They’re incapable of measuring the cross-channel impact of an online ad on direct mail. Online advertising is not a ‘direct response’ channel but instead acts to reinforce the nonprofit brand.

Is direct mail dying, or should we just kill it?

Donor Power Blog

You hear it all the time: Direct mail fundraising is dying: HOORAY! Read a recent example at the Sea Change Strategies blog: Direct Mail Isn't Dying -- But Sometimes I Wish It Would. Starting with the belief that direct mail is "inauthentic," the post goes on to throw out some strong accusations about the way direct mail is, including: Direct mail fundraisers spend much more time thinking about the color or size of the envelope than they do the content.

Direct Mail Isn’t Dying – But Sometimes I Wish It Would

Sea Change Strategies

As long as I have been doing fundraising the “is direct mail dead” question has arisen with great regularity. Interestingly, the question is always raised by direct mail fundraising consultants — and the answer is always unsurprisingly “no.”. Full disclosure – professionally I fall on the “cyber” side of things, but I have a healthy respect for the financial importance of direct mail – for now and for the foreseeable future.

Is this a good response?

Get Fully Funded

A small nonprofit serving children recently sent out their first direct mail appeal using a rented list. It cost them $427 to send the mailing, and their Board is concerned that they’ve lost money. Here’s what I said: It sounds like you picked the best possible time to mail. Good going on that – not everyone puts that much thought into the timing of their mailings. The publicity before the mailing will help the performance of the mailing. .

The Power Of Reciprocity

The Agitator

What is a successful response rate for acquisition direct mail appeals, in which you ask strangers for a first gift? [ ].125% 125% (for every 800 appeals mailed, you receive one gift) [ ].25% 25% (for every 400 appeals mailed, you receive one gift) [ ].5% Direct mail Donor acquisition fundraising premium Another Tom Ahern gem arrived the other day.

#Interview: Michael Stein, Author, Blogger, & Veteran Nonprofit Technology Strategist

Non Profit Marketing 360

In the mid-1990s, I hooked up with legendary direct mail fundraisers Mal Warwick and Nick Allen, and we started to think about what the future of fundraising might look like with the evolving Internet. On one side of the building we have the folks raising money in the mail, and on our side we have a dozen people furiously raising money over the web, Facebook and email.

#Interview: Michael Stein, Author, Blogger, & Veteran Nonprofit Technology Strategist

Non Profit Marketing 360

In the mid-1990s, I hooked up with legendary direct mail fundraisers Mal Warwick and Nick Allen, and we started to think about what the future of fundraising might look like with the evolving Internet. On one side of the building we have the folks raising money in the mail, and on our side we have a dozen people furiously raising money over the web, Facebook and email.

Is Direct Mail Dying or Dead? Hogwash! - Online Fundraising, Advocacy, and Social Media - frogloop

Care2

60) Search « Social Media Webinar on June 10th | Main | Is Direct Mail Really Headed for the Exit? » Sunday May 31 2009 Is Direct Mail Dying or Dead? Isn’t it curious how people who are young and enthusiastic about online communications are so firmly convinced that direct mail is dead or dying – while professional fundraisers, that is, the people who are responsible for bringing in the bucks, think the young critics are living on another planet?

#Interview: Michael Stein, Author, Blogger, & Veteran Nonprofit Technology Strategist

Non Profit Marketing 360

In the mid-1990s, I hooked up with legendary direct mail fundraisers Mal Warwick and Nick Allen, and we started to think about what the future of fundraising might look like with the evolving Internet. On one side of the building we have the folks raising money in the mail, and on our side we have a dozen people furiously raising money over the web, Facebook and email.

The Power Of Reciprocity

The Agitator

What is a successful response rate for acquisition direct mail appeals, in which you ask strangers for a first gift? [ ].125% 125% (for every 800 appeals mailed, you receive one gift) [ ].25% 25% (for every 400 appeals mailed, you receive one gift) [ ].5% Acquisition direct mail fundraising premium Another Tom Ahern gem arrived the other day.

How to Send a Nonprofit Appeal and Get Results

Get Fully Funded

Direct mail is a valuable fundraising strategy, but figuring out how to send a nonprofit appeal can be confusing. You’re just mailing a letter asking for a donation, right? And do you really want these 2 groups to be part of your regular mail stream?

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Key Findings on Nonprofit Social Media, Email and Online Fundraising

Fundraising 123

The study, ba sed on analysis of 55 large nonprofits, including the American Red Cross, Sierra Club, American Lung Association, AARP and Human Rights Campaign , exam ines trends on fundraising response rates, email m essaging, soci al reach and mobile. . Social reach up, email response rates down. A decline in certain email metrics – such as a 27 percent decline in click-through rates for fundraising messages.

Is Direct Mail Really Headed for the Exit? - Online Fundraising, Advocacy, and Social Media - frogloop

Care2

60) Search « Is Direct Mail Dying or Dead? Main | The ROI of Social Media » Friday May 29 2009 Is Direct Mail Really Headed for the Exit? Friday, May 29, 2009 at 09:41AM | by Allyson Kapin In the next five years, money spent annually on direct mail will decline by as much as 40%, from $49.7 “Direct mail has begun spiraling into what we believe is a precipitous decline from which it will never fully recover," said Borrell. junk mail,” Ball said.

#INTERVIEW: Jeff Brooks, Nonprofit Blogger, Author, and Creative Director

Non Profit Marketing 360

I think that’s why direct mail response rates have been dropping for seven years in a row now. We’ve got a new audience of direct mail donors coming on board and they are more demanding. JEFF: We were doing mostly direct mail at Domain, and sometimes a client would say, could you do a newsletter for us? I have a lot of clients where you can almost count on a newsletter being a more effective fundraiser than a direct mail appeal is.

Segmenting “Cost To Acquire” Using Identity

The Agitator

If one acquisition mail package has a response rate of 1.1% and an average gift of $28, you’d pick that over another with a response rate of 1% and an average gift of $25, right? I worked with one organization that had a mix of mail acquisition tactics with the big difference being premium-acquired versus non-premium-acquired. This is not a challenge restricted to mail programs.

After-Action Pop-Ups: The Secret to Getting Gifts From Your Online Advocates

Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog

MomsRising recently tried this tactic and achieved an astounding 15 percent response rate on an after-action popup – 15 percent of the advocates who took the action also made a donation. Just to put that number in perspective, the average response rate for an email appeal is.06 Is your nonprofit running petitions and other online advocacy actions?

What do you offer?

Fundraising Coach

Listen to a direct mail specialist like Tom Ahern or Steven Screen talk about fundraising for any length of time and you'll hear them constantly talking about "offers.". offers ask for response, which in turn make your ads measurable.Without offers — without a mechanism that invites response — you’ll have no idea whether an ad works or not.". The clearer you can be, and the more you can describe what's in it for the donor, the better your response rate will be.

#FUNDRAISING: 2011 Was A Good Year For Email Outreach By Nonprofits

Non Profit Marketing 360

For me, one of the biggest surprises in the report was not so much the fact that email remains so important a means of outreach , but that response rates went up by 28% since the previous year, and fundraising via email outreach went up as well by 19%. And even with that stunning growth, social networks like Facebook and Twitter remain well behind emails for click throughs and actionable responses from constituents.

Pairing metrics for fun and (non)profit

The Agitator

Response rate vs. average gift: This one is the most obvious. If you measured only response rate, someone could reduce the ask string and lower the heck out of the amount of the ask in order to spike response rates. Put together, however, they give a good picture of the response to a communication. Web traffic (sessions or unique visitors) vs. bounce rate: Measuring only one could mean many very poor visitors or only a few very good visitors.

#INTERVIEW: Sean Triner, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist of Pareto Fundraising

Non Profit Marketing 360

With such small populations and such extraordinary costs, to get a direct-mail package out costs literally three times as much. The mailing-list purchase prices are up to three times as much. If I’ve got a 100,000-donor database and I get a 20% response rate, of that lot 20% will give me 80% of the money over a period of time. An increase of 50% would actually allow me to raise my target before I have even mailed the other 96%! NPM360: Is direct mail dead?

The Nonprofit Email Apocalypse is Coming

Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog

It’s time to stop worrying so much about whether your subject line sounds spammy and start worrying about how you manage your mailing list. . A basic tenet of email engagement and deliverability is to only mail people who demonstrate that they want your content by continuing to open it.

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Testing 101: 4 Steps for Optimizing Your Fundraising Approach

Fundraising 123

Here’s an example: Integrated online/offline messages will yield higher results in regard to money raised, average gift, and response rate (both online and offline) than will unrelated online and offline messages. Test group: 50% of donors (who have given both online and offline) for whom we have an email and mailing address. Control group: Remaining 50% of donors (who have given both online and offline) for whom we have an email and mailing address.

What Ask String Works Best?

The Agitator

The life of a direct response fundraiser is filled with so many questions – far more questions than answers. Few elements of direct response fundraising are as neglected as the crucial “ask string”—often at the cost of thousands or hundreds of thousands of $. I called Nick to ask what he had in his ball of string on “self-selected asking amounts” Here’s his response: “Best study I’ve seen is a NextAfter test of this with Harvest Ministries online.

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Feedback Week: Channel and Volume Preferences

The Agitator

Almost 20% of the total substantive comments were either “don’t mail/email/phone me” or “I would like to receive less mail/fewer phone calls/fewer emails.” For perspective, the next most comment response accounted for four percent of comments. The chief violator for both channel and volume is postal mail. As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben would have said if he were a direct marketer, “with great consent comes great response rates.”

How to Get Your Email Marketing in Shape for Year-End Campaigns

Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog

They also talk about how inbox providers are now focusing more on “grey mail” which includes a lot of political and nonprofit emails. Was it bad content that led to that 10% open rate or was it an unhealthy list?

How Donors Choose Among Nonprofits: The Role of Identity

The Agitator

Donors’ perceptions of charity competence, notably the efficiency with which they are believed to use their money, often judged on the basis of the quality and quantity of direct mail. This can start at a very simple level: playing back that someone was a cat or dog person increased both average gift and response rate on a telemarketing call by 15%. There’s an old joke at the right that often feels like nonprofit marketing.

TESTING: When A/B Tests Attack (your results)

The Agitator

An example of this is a great study by Karlan and Wood looking at whether emotion or education was a more potent factor in mail appeals. The researchers found an interesting split in the data: effectiveness data significantly harmed response among smaller (under $100) donors (.6 6 percentage points lower response rate) and helped response among larger ($100+, but you probably guessed that) donors (one percentage point higher response rate).

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Five Tips for Online Fundraisers from a Direct Mail Dinosaur - Online Fundraising, Advocacy, and Social Media - frogloop

Care2

Main | Care2 Helps in Law of the Sea Win » Monday Nov 05 2007 Five Tips for Online Fundraisers from a Direct Mail Dinosaur Monday, November 5, 2007 at 05:21PM | by Karen Taggart Ill admit it. I am a direct mail dinosaur now disguising myself as a hip online marketer. That said, the longer I work in the online world the more I realize how much of old-school, direct mail techniques are applicable to online marketing. Which had the lowest unsubscribe rate?

Magic Fundraising Machine Boosts ROI

The Agitator

For years I’ve been quietly steaming about two inventions that I suspect have done great damage to effective direct mail fundraising. Show me the consultant or nonprofit staffer who slavishly imports results into a program or copies the 2010 direct mail plan into 2011’s, adjusting a few numbers for “inflation”, “the economy” or whatever, and I’ll show you a “Plan” that is fundamentally clueless, devoid of slow, painstaking thought and proper consideration. And response-reducing.

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How Do Your Email Statistics Stack Up?

Fundraising 123

And get this: we found a positive correlation between email fundraising response rate and unsubscribe rate. The high unsubscribe rate on your fundraising email may be a sign that people are paying attention. More response, more unsubscribe. That goes along with the old direct mail correlation of more response, more complaints.

[Guest Post] Donor Acquisition – the painful necessity of fundraising

Fundraising Coach

Read it both to learn the formulas and to pick up the language of the direct mail industry. Bob is a direct response/direct mail copywriter and consultant. He offers a free ebook called "Making Snail Mail Work: 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy" at www.mccarthyandking.com Bob can be reached at 508-473-8643 or on Twitter @BobMcCarthy. Two minutes and it was clear the person on the other end of the line is a newcomer to direct mail fundraising.

Premiums Make Me Cringe

The Agitator

Probably no direct mail fundraising practice makes me cringe more than the use of premiums in prospecting. But that’s just my personal reaction, and over the years I’ve disciplined myself to simply grind my teeth when the subject arises … then test and obey the actual response data. As he points out, that response data must be carefully examined.

Is Anybody PURLing?

The Agitator

I’ve been doing some reading on the integration of direct mail (as simple as postcards) and online response — e.g., 8 Key Takeaways for Personalized URLs. As you probably know, the same data that you would use to personalize a direct mail package can be used to generate complementary web pages unique to each respondent. The link is established through a personalized URL (PURL) assigned to each direct mail recipient, such as: www.tombelford.mycause.org.

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The Two Fundraising Metrics That Matter Most

The Agitator

Just ignore discount rate because the cost of money is so low. What is the likelihood that they will give gift #2 from now (and three and four and five) – that is, what is their retention rate? Retention rates, like compound interest, are magical, rippling through your program for good or ill for years to come and lifetime value is the ultimate way of representing this. Should you try adding a premium to your mail piece? Reactivation rates.

The Courage To Change

The Agitator

Early this year the 100 year-old American Cancer Society (ACS) rocked the direct response ecosystem with its decision to stop all direct mail acquisition … stop the use of direct mail to non-dm acquired donors … and remove the ACS list of donors from all exchange universes. After all, ACS is one of America’s largest nonprofit mailers — 41 million pieces of acquisition mail; mailings to 300,000 lapsed donors; and $41 million in just its direct mail renewal program alone.

Acquisition: Why ‘Best Practices’ Suck

The Agitator

So couple lack of innovation (the duplication of the same old/same old prospecting packages) with the horrid absence of brand awareness and you have 90% or more of today’s acquisition mail. That’s why most organizations who use their logo in an acquisition mailing find a depressed response when compared to a blank envelope. And we wonder why acquisition and retention rates are down. The problem with most ‘best practices’ is that they lead to stealing.

TESTING: Go Beyond Individual Communications

The Agitator

Catholic Relief Services tested a pilot program that cut 6-7 mailings and had a reduced email diet emails to a select pilot group. For a $20 donation, a donor could get all manner of Olympic swag in the mail. Because each of these questions cuts straight to the assumptions that underlie your program, with outcome measures like retention rates and long-term value, they can’t be measured with a one-piece response-rate-times-average-gift approach.

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The Agitator Believes In Equal Time

The Agitator

But Brady Josephson scores the most points for his friendly riposte regarding direct mail, which I re-publish in full here … 7 reasons to quit direct mail: 1. People already get too much mail. Response rates are declining. Now I actually don’t believe all those things and even though I work for a digital agency we are constantly talking up the values of integration and not forgetting about direct mail and direct response.

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