Study: Direct Mail Most Effective for Non-Profits

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.

Related Content
  • Pascal Marco

    I’ve been telling customers this for almost three years that people will respond to a physical "touch" much more so than an electronic one from an email, which they can just delete with the click of a key. You have to make a conscious choice to throw a direct mail piece away before opening it and are much more likely not to do that than just merely hit the delete key.