Why Direct Mail is Essential to Non-Profit Fundraising

There are a few drawbacks to using direct mail at first glance – especially if you’re comparing it to the cost-effective use of digital media. After all, postage rates will only continue to rise, while printing costs and physical marketing material costs (such as paper) will all eat into your marketing budget. But there are a number of things to consider before you even think about doing away with direct mail marketing.


Granted, acquiring new donors through direct mail will typically result in an initial loss. However, as a long-term strategy, it’s well worth the investment. Direct mail fundraising is still considered to the most cost-effective way to build a base for your organization since it allows you to raise your maximum net income as well as secure long-term financial support for your organization’s programs. Just consider these benefits:

Direct mail allows for highly targeted marketing

Other forms of marketing are nowhere near as targeted as direct mail, such as radio ads or TV ads. It means that you aren’t wasting money targeting people that either has no interest in donating to your organization or don’t have the means to do so.

Direct mail can help establish a regular stream of donations

Donors that you have secured via direct mail are more likely to make additional donations throughout their lifetime – often to the amount that exceeds their initial donation. Not to mention that these donors will often write in your organization into their wills.

Direct mail is simply more effective for fundraising

It’s worth noting that even though digital platforms, like social media, are very effective at garnering attention – they aren’t so effective at raising donations. The same goes for email, which can be easily marked as spam, deleted or ignored without it ever being opened. According to the Heart of the Donor non-profit fundraising study performed in 2010, roughly 61 percent of the study’s participants donated at least once through direct mail. And according to the Campbell Rinker Donor Confidence Survey from the same year, 37 percent of the people that made donations online did so as a result of having received direct mail from the organization they donated to.

Direct mail offers a way to market in a more personal manner

The personal nature of direct mail helps to improve the chances of your recipient taking your organization more seriously. This is especially true for older generations. Older generations are nowhere near as comfortable with digital media as younger generations and are more likely to connect with your cause if they are sent direct mail. They are also more likely to have money to donate and are also more likely to want to donate to a good cause at that point in their life as a way of giving back.


As you can see, even with the emergence of digital marketing, non-profit direct mail still has an important place in non-profit marketing campaigns as an effective tool for fundraising.