Direct Mail Campaigns and Online Fundraising

Direct Mail Campaigns and Online Fundraising

A political story floating around Washington DC and the internet lately has been about new legislation being designed to help save the US Postal Service and its $7 billion shortfall. Discussions of eliminating underperforming post offices, shortening service to a five day work week, and more possible price increases add up to a system that could look dramatically different in just a couple of years.

Direct mail campaigns have long been the backbone of many nonprofit development outlooks. Recent surveys have shown that for nonprofits, on average, 75% of first time donors comes from direct mail efforts. But with possible increases in postal prices, limited service, and expensive alternatives looming, and if Direct Mail campaigns are on the way out, there is no better time to dedicate more efforts to the online fundraising sphere.

From a cost perspective, online fundraising can provide a significant advantage. Most online fundraising sites charge either a per donation or flat fee to process credit card charges, which oftentimes can discourage smaller nonprofits from using these forums. But when compared to postage, envelopes, and paper, online fundraising is less expensive, and if used correctly, can be more cost effective. And online fundraising is only continuing to grow – increasing by 20% last year alone.

The next generation of donors is online – taking a look at recent studies, 11% of online donors are under the age of 35, compared to only 3% of offline donors falling in this age category. These donors also give more on average than their offline counterparts. To truly tap into this next market of income, technology should be a focus for nonprofits. And as technology continues to make online donation more user friendly and fluid, it stands to reason that acceptance of online fundraising to a broader audience will continue, making it an investment that will be valuable across donor demographics.

As the income development landscape continues to change, online fundraising should not just be a tool added onto other income development projects – it should have a singular strategy that fits with the overall goals of your organization’s mission. It should be given marketing and strategic focus if there is any hope for it to become a successful income source. While traditional forms of fundraising still dominate the nonprofit space, it is only a matter of time that online means of revenue generation become more prominent. Take action now.

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