Social media and email marketing are popular, but direct mail fundraising for nonprofits remains one of the most effective ways to reach potential and repeat donors. So what makes nonprofits more successful when using direct mail?
First, let’s think about your target audience: it will include a lot of adults with discretionary income who come from generations accustomed to the mail. Surprisingly, even the generations used to digital marketing (Millennials and Gen Z) enjoy direct mail fundraising – mainly because they enjoy the sense of intimacy in this digital age. They tend to interact with printed paper, compared to an email ad that they can delete without much thought.
Nonprofits need to keep production and postage costs in mind to reap these benefits and a high return on investment (ROI). Postalytics’ automated direct mail solutions are ideal for nonprofits looking to save on postage and other marketing costs to further their marketing budget using direct mail fundraising. These nonprofit direct mail savings offered by Postalytics come with additional benefits, such as mailing lists to increase your donor pool, online design of your own nonprofit letters or postcards, and real-time analytics for each nonprofit fundraising campaign.
Before we dive into the many ways Postalytics can help your nonprofit, let’s look at why automated direct mail and nonprofit marketing are such a good fit.
Table of contents
- Why do nonprofit marketers use direct mail automation?
- Nurture relationships with your donors through marketing automation
- Does direct mail work for nonprofits and fundraising?
- What are the costs associated with nonprofit direct mail marketing?
- What is the ROI of nonprofit direct mail?
- Examples of nonprofit direct mail
- Direct mail fundraising statistics 2022
- Nonprofit direct mail best practices
- Final Thoughts
Why do nonprofit marketers use direct mail automation?
Automation is one of the biggest buzzwords when it comes to nonprofit fundraising. But what does that mean? Automation is the software that takes over tasks that humans need to do – like sending direct mail – efficiently. As a result, automation saves your nonprofit’s staff time and increases productivity so that you can spend more money on your marketing. Automated direct mail fundraising can also help your employees be more engaged and focus on the tasks that interest them, potentially preventing burnout.
One of Postalytics’ top priorities is to help nonprofits run the best marketing campaigns possible. Let’s look at three ways Postalytics can help nonprofits streamline their marketing process with direct mail fundraising.
1) Save time and speed up workflow
Working with designers, marketing agencies, and printers to create your nonprofit letters or postcards for nonprofit direct mail campaigns can take two weeks. Postalytics has cut these time-consuming tasks required for direct mail fundraising down to minutes, thanks to our automated design solutions.
You can create and design a nonprofit campaign using a pre-built letter template, customize it, generate a PDF file for your team to approve, and then hit send – all from your computer, wherever you are. Postalytics prints your materials with our network of commercial printers and ships them to your list within days.
2. Deep integration with your tech stack
Postalytics has created integrations with popular marketing and CRM platforms to leverage these systems for your direct mail fundraising efforts easily. You can also connect your Postalytics account to more than 3,000 applications by using Zapier.
What are some of the benefits of the integration? You can send non-responders automated letters with more detailed information about your fundraising campaign. You can automatically trigger a thank-you letter for every donation and segment your mailing lists with just a few clicks.
3) Real-time analytics
If you want to know what’s happening with your nonprofit direct mail, Postalytics is the perfect tool for you. We offer the most comprehensive and easy-to-use analytics of any tool available. You can closely track the delivery and response status of every postcard or letter you send in your direct mail fundraising campaign. Postalytics shows you what happens to your mail in real-time after sending it, with all analytics displayed on your dashboard.
Nurture relationships with your donors through marketing automation
It’s easy to assume that people are always willing to donate. In reality, you need to convince them that you are an organization they should support and that your nonprofit should always be top of mind. That’s why donor cultivation is so important. When implemented correctly, nurturing campaigns strengthens relationships with your donors and creates ongoing support that keeps organizations like yours going.
Automated direct mail marketing is a tool that nonprofit marketers can use in various ways to accomplish this and enhance their direct mail fundraising efforts. When someone donates for the first time, visits a specific page on your website, or interacts with your organization, you can send messages triggered by automated marketing software to deliver a message tailored to those actions. Once you have sent a potential new donor an introduction or personalized welcome letter, there are ways to engage them further.
Triggered campaigns keep the conversation going
With Postalytics’ automated tools, you can easily set up and track a triggered drip campaign as part of a multi-channel donor acquisition campaign. Depending on your strategy, direct mail can be an appropriate first point of contact and a call to action to complete the donation.
It works for our customers – 72% of Postalytics customers have seen higher response rates when automated direct mail is added to email campaigns. Our system helps nonprofits send highly personalized direct mail campaigns to their donor lists, track their engagement, and share data with other platforms using our 20+ different integrations.
Does direct mail work for nonprofits and fundraising?
Direct mail fundraising is one of the best ways for nonprofits to communicate with their supporters. The best nonprofits have a robust direct mail program to drive their fundraising efforts. That’s because it’s effective, and donors enjoy receiving it.
One of the most significant advantages of direct mail fundraising is its much higher response rate than other channels. Despite all the hype around social media and email, for-profit and nonprofit organizations often get the best results with direct mail. Only 0.1% of emails are opened, while paid search has an average open rate of 0.6%.
Online display marketing is even lower at 0.2%. On the other hand, direct mail does not fare badly: a 5.3% response rate is significantly higher than these other channels. Higher response rates mean more donations, and more donations mean more money for your nonprofit.
As a nonprofit, you probably can’t meet with every donor who gives to your organization. Many organizations use direct mail for personal communication that makes donors feel special. With so much email and digital communication, it’s hard to make donors feel human. Direct mail fundraising, when done right, offers a personal touch and feel.
Research shows that direct mail fundraising is more effective than email and other digital channels at building brand loyalty. A study conducted by the U.S. Postal Service found that direct mail increases customer loyalty 70% more than digital channels. That’s likely because people spend more time interacting with direct mail than digital. You’re not just clicking on a link. You have to open it, flip through the pages, fill out a survey, and (hopefully) make a donation.
While it’s essential to attract new donors, it’s just as important to keep the ones you already have. According to ANA, 70% of customers have renewed their relationship with an organization because of direct mail, making direct mail an effective retention strategy for nonprofits.
What are the costs associated with nonprofit direct mail marketing?
Overhead costs for direct mail fundraising can be high when using traditional direct mail. Staff is needed to maintain high-quality donor lists and manage the design, printing, and mailing of fundraising letters and postcards.
Postalytics has developed an automated direct mail solution that handles all of the tasks needed for prospecting mail for one affordable bundled fee. This allows your staff to focus on other important tasks and save money on your fundraising strategies. Here’s how:
· Nonprofits can create and design fundraising letters, brochures, or postcards using pre-designed templates without hiring outside designers and marketers.
· Variable printing solutions will auto-populate and personalize envelopes and mailings for direct mail fundraising.
· Easy-to-use editing tools let you add QR codes so millennials using mobile devices can donate in a snap when they receive your direct mail campaign.
· We take care of postage and shipping so nonprofits can access discounted bulk mail rates from the USPS without registering as a nonprofit.
· We can reduce the number of undeliverable mailings used in your house mail strategy by keeping mailing lists clean with automatic address validation.
· Response rates are tracked and analyzed so your nonprofit organization can optimize your fundraising campaigns without needing additional resources.
What is the ROI of nonprofit direct mail?
Return on investment is an important metric that nonprofits should use to make informed decisions. It is a measure of direct mail success, but it also provides insight into how their strategies resonate with target audiences.
If you discard direct mail because social media fundraising is trending, it will diminish the potential of your marketing strategy and reduce your ROI. The return on $1 spent for social media fundraising campaigns is $1.23, compared to $1.35 when using direct mail. Using Postalytics for your nonprofit direct mail will lower that cost even further, thanks to the price- and time-saving benefits mentioned above.
What is a good response rate for direct mail fundraising?
Acquisition mail response rates range from 0.5% to 2.5%. If your acquisition costs are low or your average donation is high, a response rate as low as 0.5% may be acceptable.
The higher your response rate to your direct mail appeal, the more donors you acquire. And the more donors you acquire, the more opportunities you have to target them in the months ahead for a donation.
This will lead to more donor revenue over time.
Examples of nonprofit direct mail
COVID-19 made it difficult for our client Homestart to connect with their major donors in person to raise money. So they used Postalytics’ fundraising software solution to send direct mail pieces to reach their donors in a new way. Postalytics enabled Homestart to execute powerful direct mail campaigns quickly. Homestart used the trusted channel in a new, innovative way and conducted high-impact marketing without the overhead of traditional direct mail campaigns.
Direct mail fundraising statistics 2022
According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), the average American household receives 92 pieces of nonprofit direct mail in their mailbox each year.
The Direct Mail Global Market Report 2022 reports that the direct mail market will grow by 1.5% thanks to direct mail’s high ROI and engagement. Nonprofits should look to this in their marketing plans for 2022 and beyond to generate donations and save time and money.
Nonprofit direct mail best practices
Your direct mail campaign is a conversation between you and the donor. Your direct mail appeal should tell stories that create an emotional connection. The prospective donors may never meet the letter’s sender, but they will feel like they understand the challenges they face and care.
Take advantage of the physical nature of direct mailings and show old and new donors that you’re working hard to do your best to support those in need through your nonprofit. You can illustrate this through high-quality design, personalized messages, and powerful stories that express your passion for the work and your gratitude for helping them, inviting them to trust the work you can do with their support and establishing credibility. With our high-quality mailer templates, editing tools, and personalization tools, this is all easy and quick to do.
You may have gained a new donor’s trust by asking them to donate, but make sure you follow up afterward to keep the relationship alive. With Postalytics’ automated mailing solutions, you can easily set up a trigger campaign, including email and direct mail fundraising materials and multiple channels to keep the connection going.
The last tip about best practices for direct mail for nonprofits is mailing list segmentation – a feature offered as part of your Postalytics account. The time for mass marketing is over. Don’t try to target all donors with the same promotional message. One of the core pieces of any fundraising campaign is personalization.
Personalization allows you to treat each donor as an individual based on what you know about them – demographic information, giving history, and more. With Postalytics’ Variable Data Printing (VDP) tool, nonprofits can use this personal data to personalize their direct mail letters for their direct mail fundraising audience of donors – inspiring donors to send their dollars your way.
Effective direct mail leads to many engagements, donations, and a high ROI for nonprofits. Digital fundraising is also an important part of the equation, but should your marketing use only direct mail? Organizations should use digital mail and mailing services together in an integrated strategy rather than relying solely on one.
Too often, nonprofits neglect to integrate their marketing touchpoints in their direct mail fundraising strategy, which results in donors not engaging. When you disregard using direct mail to share your unique story in your fundraising strategy for donors, your organization misses donation opportunities.
Postalytics enables nonprofit professionals to create and manage direct mail fundraising appeals with marketing automation tools through our unique direct mail fundraising services. Using marketing automation for your fundraising strategies can transform your marketing and fundraising efforts, achieve a high ROI, and raise more donations to your cause.