3 Fundraising Direct-Mail Trends
The second and third quarters were dominated by 2010, with 14 percent more mail. But it changed in the fourth quarter, as 2011 showed a 7 percent increase from 2010. The biggest shift of all was the month of December, which grew by 29 percent from 2011 compared to 2010.
What does the fundraiser value more: getting new donors or retaining current ones? Both, of course, but in which direction is the money getting allocated? And how does the fundraiser approach the donor prospect? Examining offer types — broken into acquisition, retention and expire mailings — reveals the current answers.
Retention mailings have grown by 16 percent from 2010 to 2011, showing that fundraisers are putting more emphasis on keeping the donors they have on their rolls. To further prove this theory, expire mailings also went up, by 7 percent. Accordingly, acquisition efforts were affected by this switch-up in emphasis and their numbers shrunk by 3 percent.
Watching how popular direct-marketing tactics are employed in certain sectors is always fascinating, and it's no different for fundraising. Using variable data printing (VDP) or personalization has grown in every sector, and that includes fundraising, where it went up by 6 percent. Now, 58 percent of fundraising efforts are personalized in some way, from the name, to the images shown, to even the kind of premium offered.
Speaking of premiums, these gifts — promised after a donation — have long been a popular tactic for fundraisers looking to grease the giving wheels. In 2011, premiums remained popular, as they still hovered around 17 percent — similar to 2010.
What about freemiums? You know, the free labels, a calendar, note pad, rosary, etc., that are stuffed into a package and that can guilt/encourage prospects into giving? They slipped quite a bit from 2010 to 2011, by 14 percent. The most logical explanation is postal costs, just like with the slowdown of larger packages.