The Value of Direct Mail - UK Study
29 January 2008 at 3:17 pm
Over two thirds of donors in the UK think charities put gifts in direct mail to make them feel guilty about getting something for nothing and most would not give a donation if they received a gift, according to new research by the Fundraising Standards Board (FSB).
A survey of over 2,000 existing donors found only one in six thought putting gifts in direct mail as an incentive was acceptable, and 70 per cent thought charities put them in to make people feel guilty. A further 93 per cent thought money spent on gifts might be better spent on the cause.
The research, called "Signed, Sealed and Delivered" asked both regular givers and the general public what they thought about charity direct mail.
According to the FSD, direct mail is one of the most universally used fundraising tools. Using data from the nfpSynergy Charity Awareness Monitor, the Fundraising Standards Board has written this report which reveals the public’s attitudes towards direct mail.
The attitudinal research found that people want charities to respect their wishes particularly in terms of how often they are contacted. Some 88 per cent said they would stop giving if a charity kept contacting them after being asked not to.
At the same time 53 per cent think that direct mail is a good way for charities to raise money for their work, and another 50 percent do not mind charities contacting them on a regular basis.
Over 75 per cent of charity supporters felt it was unacceptable for charities to swap names and addresses with each other to get more donors, with the same number saying they wanted some say about how often charities contacted them.
On receiving and responding to direct mail:
– Members of the public say they receive approximately 6 pieces of direct mail every 3 months
– Donors indicate that they receive on average nearly 3 letters a year from their chosen charity asking them to donate money
– Large amounts of direct mail ends up in the bin. Up to one third indicated that they do not read a third of the charity direct mail they receive
– People are concerned about the environmental impact of direct mail.
– Direct mail that is addressed to the recipient is more likely to be read
– Unaddressed mail is just as likely to elicit a donation of equivalent value
– The content of direct mail encourages people to give only in a minority of cases
Over three quarters of respondents gave because they usually supported the cause or because of personal or family experience; a third gave because of what was written in the letter
– There is potentially a balance to be struck when considering the number of times a year to contact donors
– Too many direct mail appeals may well result in very little return at all
Five or more letters a year appear more likely to result in no donations being made and in fewer people opting to give the maximum number of times.