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Study: Direct Mail Most Effective for Non-Profits

August 17, 2012
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ATLANTA—A study carried out by research company Campbell River on behalf of the non-profit advisory body, Dunham+Company, found that people were more than three times as likely to donate after being contacted by direct mail than by e-mail.

The researchers asked people making a donation what had prompted them to make a contribution to the charity. The portion of people who were donating after receiving a direct mail appeal was 17 percent, more than three times higher than the 5 percent who had been prompted to donate by an e-mail.

Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham+Company, described the results of the study as “a bit of a shock.” Dunham notes that recipients pay more attention to a physical object that comes into their mailbox than e-mail, which he points out is easily deleted.

According to the study, donors in the 40-59 age categories are the most responsive to direct mail—47 percent of them responded to receiving a letter by making a donation in 2012, which is a dramatic increase from 34 percent in 2010. Donors over the age of 60 also respond well to direct mail—24 percent of them donated in 2012 after receiving a letter, an increase of 6 percent since 2010.
 
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