Politics and Nonprofit Direct-Mail Performance
The folks at Merkle recently gave FundRaising Success and its readers a sneak peek at their new whitepaper, “Examining the Impact of Political Fundraising on Non-profit Direct Mail Performance.”
In a press release announcing the results, Merkle Chief Strategy Officer Greg Fox says, “For most nonprofits, the direct-mail fundraising climate is far more challenging than in previous years, and it is becoming more difficult and expensive to acquire and retain active donors.
“The slumping economy and the increased emphasis on presidential fundraising are often cited as primary reasons for weaker performance in 2008,” he continues. “In an effort to separate fact from fiction as it relates specifically to presidential fundraising’s impact, Merkle analyzed actual performance data from presidential campaigns and nonprofit fundraising before, during and after an active election cycle.”
Among the findings in the report:
* Charities can coexist: Findings show that political elections have no noticeable impact on charitable contributions.
* Giving is growing: While political fundraising levels continue to reach new heights with each presidential election, charitable giving also continues to grow. This means that both fundraising groups have a wider base from which to find donors.
* Donors are different: Political campaign donors are typically younger, more likely to be male, and have higher incomes. Nonprofit donors are typically older, are more likely to be female, and are located throughout the country. In contrast, political donors tend to be located in the northeast.
“The report concludes that there is little evidence to suggest that people are giving money to presidential candidates in lieu of charitable organizations,” Fox is quoted as saying. “In fact, the data leads us to believe that, for the most part, people that make political contributions are very different than those who support their favorite charitable organization. Therefore, there doesn’t appear to be too much competition for a share of the contributor’s wallet.”
For the project, Merkle reviewed large amounts of historical direct-mail performance data — from a group of large, national nonprofits from various sectors including health, environmental, military, political, domestic relief and international aid — and compared it with political-contribution data obtained from the Federal Election Commission.
You can read the entire report at here