Learn more about analytics and research best practices, as well as real world examples and solutions for nonprofits.


Oct 27, 2021

Is Mail Still a Viable Origin for Mid/Major Donors?

I have some crazy good news. YES! Direct mail acquisition is still a GREAT source for filling your mid/major donor pipeline.

We recently studied over 20 organizations from three different categories (public media, food banks and missions). We were looking at the relationship between acquiring donors through direct mail over the past 5 years and the percentage of those DM-acquired donors who eventually gave cumulatively $1,000 or more in a year.

Drum roll. . . .

Consistently, about 4% of the DM-acquired donors over the last five years gave more than $1,000 in a year.

That’s huge.

I know the common narrative over the past decade is that direct mail acquisition is expensive and dying. But, like a lot of narratives in our world today, the data doesn’t support it. Contrarily, not only do direct mail-acquired donors have the best retention rates of any channel, but our analysis shows that a lot of direct mail donors you acquire today will be filling your major gift officer’s portfolios tomorrow.

So, if your board of directors is on the fence about the costs of direct mail acquisition, show them this stat. Cutting direct mail acquisition means reducing your future donations.

Fundraising Forward

Postage rates and problematic delivery are making me rethink how fundraising might need to adapt moving forward. In 2024, First Class postage is a whopping 73 cents (who knew when those “forever” stamps don’t put the amount on them?) and nonprofit postage is between...

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Test First Class Postage this Fall

One of the disturbing USPS trends – other than raising the cost of postage every year – is the bulk delivery of appeal letters with nonprofit postage. Over the past year, when I check my mailbox for the appeal letters I’m seeded on, I have noticed that I receive all...

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Top 5 Mistakes: #1 Stopping New Donor Acquisition

I have been analyzing the fundraising business for nearly three decades and over the years I keep seeing nonprofit organizations making the same mistakes. These errors hold organizations back. If you are new to fundraising, please commit yourself to avoiding these...

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