ThinkStream

Direct Mail Does Not Work (On Me)

by Matthew Dybwad on May.23, 2009, under Posts

I’ve sit down to actually process snail mail, which I probably do once every other month, and one thing has become painfully clear. Organizations I care about are wasting my precious contribution dollars by sending me expensive and elaborate mail pieces designed to get more of my money.

Newsflash: I will never send you money by mail. Ever.

I could (and have) opened a mail piece, been blown away by the message, been moved to tears by the imagery, and totally agreed with everything the organization stands for and is trying to convey, and still will NEVER GIVE BY MAIL.

This should not come as a surprise. Given the socioeconomic demographic information about me plastered all over the Internet, credit bureaus, and countless “public information” depots that smart organizations match their housefiles against, the fact that I’ll never send a paper check through the mail to anyone should be as plain as the nose on a direct mail vendor’s face.

It’s not that I don’t care. I do. But I haven’t physically touched a checkbook in almost a decade. I don’t write checks. I barely open my snail mail, and then only if it looks like something that came from a government entity that is trying to levy some kind of fee against me. Frequently I get junk mail that tries to look like these notices. This only makes me angrier.

Second newsflash: I give online. It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s ridiculously more secure than sending sensitive information through the United States Postal Service.

And best of all, how much does it cost my favorite organizations to proposition me for more money via my favorite means of communication? Almost nothing.

Direct mail is not dead. Far from it. They make all kinds of money. But not on me. And many others I suspect.

So, in summation: fire your direct mail firm if they are sending your fundraising pieces to me. Find one that can actually save you money by not wasting dollars propositioning people who obviously will never engage with them in that channel. Send me an email. Better yet, create something online that is so compelling that friends and peers will actually send it to me on your behalf because they recognize a) how compelling it is, and b) that I will also find it compelling. Then your communication comes to me from a trusted source with a high degree of relevancy.

Then I will give. Generously, and instantly.


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