Are You Sending Too Much Mail?
The most common complaint donors make about fundraising? Too much mail! Right?
Do those too-much-mail complaints stab you in the heart because you're afraid they might be correct? Well, they are correct. It's not possible for them to be wrong: If a donor perceives too much mail, she's getting too much mail. It's something we need to deal with.
But here's the thing: You'll never solve the too-much-mail problem if you treat it as a numbers game. Sure, people complain about the amount of mail, and you're sending out a lot of it. But the connection between those two things is not as direct as it looks.
Let's take a look at a normal direct-mail donor's mailbox. Say she gets, on average, five pieces of fundraising mail every day. In the course of a year, that's about 1,500 fundraising pieces. If you're sending 12 pieces a year to this particular donor, that's less than 1 percent of her total fundraising mail.
Mail half as much. Now you're sending six pieces a year. That's a meaningful, significant step, isn't it?
Not so much. With your cut, she now gets 1,494 pieces of mail instead of 1,500. That's an average of 4.98 a day. You've made virtually no difference in her daily junk-mail experience.
Maybe you're willing to say, "Every little bit helps," and feel good about doing your part, even if it's small. Before you do that, though, let's take a look at the consequences of halving the mail you send.
1. You'll get fewer gifts per donor. Fewer opportunities to give equals fewer gifts. If you were getting three gifts per year from a donor by sending 12 mailings, chances are you'll get two gifts by sending six. Your ratio is better, but you took a 33 percent hit in total revenue. Ouch.