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2020 Direct Mail Fundraising Trends: Keeping Your Head Above Water

Nonprofit direct mail response rates 2020 , direct mail fundraising trends , direct mail fundraising best practices , non profit direct mail research , direct marketing , success

Although the economy is constantly changing, we can all agree that 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. Fundraising is more important now than it ever has been, particularly for non-profits. With unemployment figures rising in many areas, the first budget item to drop is charitable giving. This means that non-profits have to be savvier than ever about fundraising. Making the most of your fundraising budget is key to success this year.

Direct Mail Fundraising Best Practices

Just like all of us, donors need reminding and direct mail has a much better track record of being opened than other forms of fundraising. In the everyday hustle and bustle of life, favorite charities can become a distant thought. In addition, there are so many non-profits vying for our attention that we can lose sight of what we really care about. A direct mail campaign is the best way to help your donors remember your cause.

The importance of retaining donors is followed by the need to gain new donors. Growth is measured not only in increased giving but also in numbers of givers. There are several ways to get your non-profit name in front of new donors and motivate current donors to give. Some of the direct mail fundraising best practices are:

  • Personalize your card or letter with the reader’s name and include any previous donations. An example might be: “Thank you so much, Ben, for giving $100 to our campaign in 2019.”
  • Make your direct packages eye-catching but not too busy. 
  • Do not use acronyms — you don’t want your reader struggling to figure out what the letters mean. 
  • Include a direct, clear call-to-action so your reader doesn’t have to guess what you want.
  • Include an item such as a prayer card, bookmark, or something small like a lapel cross.
  • On holiday mailings, include extra cards that your donors can send or give to others with the suggestion to give to your cause. This will increase the scope of your giving circle.
  • Change up the size or look of your regular mailings. This will draw attention to an otherwise well-known piece of mail and may increase the curiosity enough to get the mail opened.
  • Putting your entire database through a wealth data append. It will help you determine if there are retirement-age donors who may be ready to give more or include your organization in their end of life planning.

Nonprofit direct mail response rates 2020 , direct mail fundraising trends , direct mail fundraising best practices , non profit direct mail research , direct marketing , success

Non-profit Direct Mail Response Rates

Percentages for non-profit direct mail response rates vary from organization to organization, state to state, and according to the type of non-profit you are running. Overall, the success rate goes up when the direct mail campaign is paired with other means of communication as mentioned above. Some statistics non-profit direct mail research shows are:

  • Direct mail response rates are between 5-9%.
  • When organizations combine direct mail with digital methods, response rates climb to 28%.

In summary, non-profit direct mail fundraising trends include:

  • Personalizing your direct mail marketing.
  • Keeping your direct mail simple and easy to read.
  • Including something of value within the package to show the donor you care.
  • Changing up your look and size periodically.
  • Offering ways for your donors to invite others to donate.
  • Using a wealth data appends to discover those that approaching a time when they want to give more.

Ballantine has been helping non-profits with donor campaigns and direct marketing since 1966. Our creative and innovative approach to increasing your donations will provide the boost your non-profit needs for success in our world. Contact us today to better connect with your donors!


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I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!