Direct Mail = a Medium, not a Program

Direct mail is – and always has been – a medium to target list segments and communicate a message from one passionate individual (the signatory – and please make sure you have only one!) to another individual (the reader). And yet many organizations treat Direct Mail as a “program” rather than a “communication medium”. THE GOOD NEWS –those organizations are likely (hopefully) employing specialist direct mail staff and agencies – people who understand the medium and how to maximize the return on investment. And there is likely a structured annual direct mail contact strategy in place with a board approved budget to execute the plan. THE BAD NEWS – all too often, because there is a direct mail budget in place, staff are expected to adhere to a rigid plan and budget. And their success is measured on the wrong metrics – like net revenue for the current Christmas Appeal relative to last year. Even worse … the direct mail team feels forced to jealously protect “their” donors from Major Gift Officers and regional or national staff so that they can keep donors in their own budget silo. Hardly donor-centric! And not the way to maximize overall net revenue to change the world.   SMART FUNDRAISERS AND FINANCE OFFICERS KNOW:  The Direct Mail contact plan is a framework that Fundraisers are empowered to alter during the year to better integrate with other contact media, to maximize net revenue and/or retention. Net revenue is more important than cost/income ratios. It’s the net revenue that supports the mission and makes for a better world. It is totally unrealistic to automatically increase net revenue...