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How Direct Mail can Help Charities Raise Awareness and Assist Fundraising

 
When computers first became popular, enthusiasts predicted the end of the printed page, saying we would all be reading on screen. While many of us do read online, there are more books being registered and published now than ever before. Those same enthusiasts predicted that "snail mail" would also expire when we moved over to email in entirety. Again, while many of us use email prolifically, we still like to receive "real mail."

As it turns out, we find that these new technologies work best when used in conjunction with the more established ones. Take direct mail for example. We know that it is most effective when used alongside another communication method such as telemarketing or email marketing. Offering supporters the opportunity for different methods of assistance has been found to be the most effective.

Social networking is also another avenue that fundraisers are exploring to raise money for their causes. Direct appeals don't seem to work in this medium, whereas indirect requests, or ad-revenue sharing does seem to be paying off. The main advantage of a social media campaign is the relative low cost of implementation.

While it's right to explore every money raising avenue open to charities, they all keep coming back to direct mail. It might be more expensive to implement than an online campaign, but it has a far better response rate right now.

The key to a successful direct mail campaign is to test approaches before launching it full-scale. Trying different media, copy, language and approaches on a test area before launching fully helps to choose the most effective communication method before the full campaign is launched. Trying different colours, media such as letters, postcards, shaped cards, and novelty items is essential before large-scale ordering of the medium takes place. While novelty shapes, designs and colours might appeal to some, they won't appeal to others which is where a test batch will bear most fruit. Many successful direct mail campaigns have started this way.

They often start with a novel idea or design. Once approval is agreed a small test batch is produced and sent to recipients. A control batch of equal size is sent to other recipients and the results studied. Despite some wonderful designs and innovative ideas, it's often the most simple that get the biggest response. One theory is that recipients of fundraising requests would much rather receive something plain and simple than something fancy and expensive looking. Those asked said they would rather their money was spent on the good causes the charity supports rather than on designers and production of marketing material.

So while design plays a large part in many direct mail campaigns, charities and fundraisers have more to take into account when planning a campaign. They need to create a perception of frugality while not compromising the appeal of their piece.
 

The Benefits of Using QR Codes in Fundraising Direct Mail

By including a QR code in your fundraising direct mail, you will enable people to scan the code and land on any web page of your choosing. They could even make an instant donation. Read more about QR codes.

Direct mail is still one of the most successful marketing media, one that continues to bear fruit and be popular with marketers. Even with new methods of communication, direct mail will still be a marketing powerhouse for the foreseeable future.
 
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