Charity marketing: direct mail top tips

Once the key communication method of choice for charities, direct mail has fallen out of favour for some since the introduction of the GDPR. We work with several charities on new supporter engagement, fundraising appeals and retention campaigns. Direct mail has the versatility to adapt beautifully for each of these. The best news of all is that the ICO approved that you can still mail cold targets under the lawful basis of Legitimate Interest.

Here are our top tips for using and making the most of direct mail in the charity sector, and reasons why we think it should be part of your marketing mix:

• A lapsed donor is still a lifelong supporter. They just haven’t given money recently. Approach it like you would renewing an old friendship or relationship. Think about how to target them, and the message being sent.

• 50% of responders to a donor appeal go on to give a second donation, if communicated with at the right time and in the right tone.

• Utilise the power of the halo effect. Direct mail supports a response especially when used with other marketing channels. If you have a direct response TV or radio advertising campaign planned, add DM into the mix and the result will be even better.

• Charity door drops stay in the home on average four to five days*, with people returning to look at the piece nearly three times (*Royal Mail JIC report 2018).

• The “ask” is the key to success – make sure it’s part of the opening gambit. For example: ‘Right now we need your help to…’

• Does the fundraising mailing look expensive and glamourous? If so, your audience will automatically be alienated. Why would someone donate to you if your budget is being spent on a print pack and not the cause?

• 75% of charity DM is sent at Christmas. What other times present an opportunity to cut through to donors? Older generations don’t typically go away when families are on school holiday. Could charities utilise this time of year to ask for a donation?

• You can get more from a mail pack by adding testimonials, a gift, or even a P.S. Consider putting the donation form up front, using the Royal Mail digital stamp, or extend your letter by adding an extra page. Do more to get more.