New study reveals donors find direct mail better at communicating with them

A new collaborative study by Grey Matter Research and Opinions 4 Good, called The Donor Mindset Study III, asked 1,000 American donors to evaluate their reactions to charitable fundraising appeals made via direct mail and email.

According to a July 10 press release by Grey Matter Research, the study focused primarily on six key areas, asking donors to rate their perception of both direct mail and email fundraising regarding:

·      Which they were more likely to read

·      Which they were more likely to throw away without reading

·      Which they felt used an organization’s resources best

·      Which were more likely to annoy them

·      Which is better at conveying important information

·      Which is better at telling an emotional story

Results from the study indicate a majority of donors feel direct mail is far better at communicating with them than email.

When it comes to relaying facts, statistics, and important data relating to the charity or cause, donors across age groups preferred direct mail (37%) to email (32%).

Segmenting out each age group shows favorability toward direct mail in this respect increases with age.  Those under 35 years old preferred email (48% to 31%), while donors 35 to 49 showed no notable preference between the two.  Donors over 50, however, overwhelmingly preferred fundraising appeals made through mail than those made through email.  Donors over 65 prefer direct mail to email 45% to 20%.

Direct mail fundraising also earned high marks when it comes to storytelling.  Across age groups, donors ranked direct mail first by 38% to 23%.  Younger donors were split between methods (but still preferred direct mail 38% to 35%) while older donors clearly preferred direct mail.

Overall, the study shows a great deal of acceptance for both methods, and while the youngest donors predictably favored electronic fundraising, it may come as a surprise to some that they don’t tend to favor it over direct mail all that much--especially when it comes to telling a compelling story and making an emotional connection.

To read a full free copy of this study, visit Grey Matter Research.