Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ten reasons premium direct mail doesn't suck

Lots of questions about premium direct mail still abound. Premium direct mail is not for everyone.

But it should not be rejected because of a theory that we get worse donors non non premium. It is just a technique - and, with the right proposition, budget, skills and follow up - a technique which can help you achieve your mission by giving you more cash.

Ten reasons why premium based direct mail fundraising is as valid as any other fundraising mechanism.

1. It usually works better than non-premium direct mail in short term. The table below is based on real data.

Acquisition mailing volume
Response rate
Average first donation
Second gift rate
Average second donation
Total given
Income Yr 1
Cost (acq+warm)
1 yr ROI
Multi donors @1yr

2. It works better than non-premium direct mail in longer term - in the table above we have 2,250 premium acquired donors who have given twice and they are a lot more valuable than the 968 non-premium acquired donors who gave twice.

3. There are more potential bequestors (legacies) and major donors in a premium acquired file than a non-premium direct mail file.

4. Premium acquired donors don't only respond to premium mailings.  They are more likely to respond to premiums but because they were cheaper to get, and there are more of them, you can follow premium donors up with non-premium mailings and still get good results.

5. Donors who only give to premiums give to premiums.  But donors who give to non-premiums do give to premiums too! So premiums actually bring you in a new audience without losing the old one.

6. Direct mail is the largest volume source of bequests (legacies), and premium direct mail gets more donors. Direct mail donors are older; mean age is around 70, and in Australia modal age is 83. Great bequest prospects are in your premium donor file.

7. After the same filters have been applied (size of gift, contactable by phone use of credit card etc) premium acquired donors have been just as likely to become regular givers (sustainers) as non-premium acquired donors when telephoned. And there are usually more of them.

8. Premium direct mail is usually more expensive in costs - but usually a lower cost per donor. In other words, you may have to pay more upfront (or mail fewer) but you will likely get your donors cheaper.

9. Premiums are not at odds with donor-centricity or the brand of a cause.  Premium mailings should be story focused, donor centric just like any other mailing.  Putting a premium in the pack gets the letter opened; the cause still needs to work hard to get the donation. 

But most importantly...

10. Indigenous Community Volunteers, the Lost Dogs' Home, RSPCA, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, St John's NZ, Vision Australia, Seeing Eye Dogs, Guide Dogs, House with No Steps, Save the Children, Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation, Diabetes Victoria, Cancer Council QLD, Bush Heritage, Children’s Cancer Institute, WWF Australia, Starship Hospital, Children's Hospital at Westmead....

…any many more all helped more people, more animals and more habitat because they have premium direct mail as part of their portfolio.

Premium direct mail is not for everyone.  

But the decision to do premium direct mail or not should be about your resources, skills, other fundraising options, database, budget and ability to get great propositions. 

For more on premium direct mail visit http://101fundraising.org.

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