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Answers to Questions on Philanthropy
Source: The New York Times  ·  November 12, 2009  ·  Excerpt

Q. I am interested to know whether new nonprofits are still using direct mail or if they have moved completely to e-mail and other online ways of raising money. Obviously, the return on investments from e-mail and online is much higher, and, as a new nonprofit, gathering addresses is a time-consuming activity. Any information you have on whether new nonprofits continue to gather names and addresses for direct mail or are bypassing that for e-mail addresses would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and knowledge.

A. Thank you for an excellent question. Most new nonprofits do not have the financial wherewithal to use direct mail, which is expensive, and thus rely on e-mail and other technology-based means of communication.

As most of us know, however, big, established charities continue to use direct mail because it still raises more money than online tools. Although fund-raisers and technology experts once predicted that social media would be the death of direct mail, they now say that having the right mix of direct mail, e-mail and social media is more important.

Our take
This is a great example of the type of question nascent nonprofits may have as they evaluate marketing and communication efforts. Even with the tremendous rise of social and interactive media, it's important to keep a "big picture" perspective: new technologies serve as an addition to an overall media mix, not necessarily a replacement for direct mail, print advertising or other more traditional channels.

  • What are the most effective media for reaching your organization's core audience(s)?
  • How can the appropriate balance between spending and priorities be met?

We can help you determine cost-effective ways to move forward, and judge how a communications plan meshes with your overall goals. Contact us now or send us some brief information for a free analysis of your current challenges.


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