In Fund Raising

Direct Mail Drives Online Donations

Using direct mail to target those who have donated before creates a more substantial impact on donor relationships and will keep mailing costs low.

  • donors have begun to use mobile devices to make their donations;
  • charities must optimize their website for ease of use as well as streamline the giving process to better serve these older donors;
  • make sure your website is optimized donations through mobile devices

Direct mail is a method of advertising that sends unsolicited letters to prospective customers and has a long history of being an effective outreach method. It is increasingly common to use online tools to collect donations directly on an organization’s website. In this article, we’re going to talk about the basics of online donations, and how to use direct mail to boost your online donations.

In the last ten years, there has been a major shift in the way that we reach, interact, and communicate with people. Whether it be as part of an organization looking to expand their influence or even just the way that we send our family Holiday cards, almost everything is done via the internet. It is the perfect tool for charities or businesses looking for donations, with the large increase in web tools making it easy to connect with website visitors and allowing them to make their donations through the website itself.

Say you’ve already got your website polished and ready for donations to roll in, but how do you get donor’s attention? There are thousands of charity opportunities around the world so it can be difficult to make yours stand out. Believe it or not, using direct mail is actually the best way to get donors over to your website. Most consumers tend to put more attention into physical letters than in emails or online ads. In this article, we’re going to explore the effects of direct mail as well a few other methods when it comes to online donations.

Online Donations are Popular With All Ages

It might seem that online donations only reach people in the younger demographic, but in fact, online interfaces have become more popular with older people as well. A study from 2014 by Dunham + Company found that donors ages 66+ have increased their online donations to 59%, compared to 29% in 2010. This is only 1% less than donors in the 65- group. “This means charities must do all they can to optimize their website for ease of use as well as streamline the giving process to better serve these older donors,” says Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham + CompanyⓇ.

Another study from 2016 shows that donors have also begun to use mobile devices to make their donations. As much as 18% of donors donate through their mobile device in response to direct mail.

“The research makes clear that charitable organizations need to make sure their websites are optimized for donations, particularly for the increasing number of donors who are making donations through mobile devices,” Dunham says.

Integrate direct mail with email and web outreach

While direct mail is an excellent outreach method, it is falling behind methods like email and social media outreach. These statistics found by MobileCause, an online fundraising resource, response rates increase 10% when direct mail is integrated with email and web outreach.

Using Social Media is an increasingly effective method to reach people with for your organization, in fact, 71% of NGO’s say that social media has been effective in their fundraising.

Using platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow for simple, frequent updates on your organization, as well as sharing photos, videos, and polls with your followers and supporters. It is interactive, simple, and has a broad reach.

Email is perhaps one of the most efficient and professional ways to directly reach people. In 2017 email lists for fundraising grew by 11% for nonprofits, and have increased by an average of 13% in the last three years. Both email and social media now dominate new donor outreach because they are easy and cost-effective.

Use direct mail to target those who have donated before

But what about returning, or heavily involved donors? This is where direct mailing comes in. Using direct mail to target those who have donated before creates a more substantial impact on donor relationships and will keep mailing costs low. Send lovely, more personalized cards to your dedicated donors that direct them to your website and social media so that they can make their donations. This personal touch is one of the best ways to keep past donors interested and up to date.

Ultimately direct mail is a great tool to drive your online fundraising, but it should not be the only tool that you use. Studies have shown that direct mail is best used in conjunction with your online spaces.  So in the end, it is most effective to use direct mail campaigns to bring attention to your campaign. Then complement it with your online platform for the best success in fundraising.   

See also Donation Direct Mail Letter: Ask for It Effectively

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