publication date: Jul 4, 2012
Donors are more than three times likelier to give online in
response to a direct-mail appeal than an e-appeal, according to a new US study
. The study,
conducted by research firm Campbell
, found that 17% of donors who gave on a charity website in 2011 said
that a direct-mail letter prompted their online gift. Just 5% said they gave
online because of an e-mail.
In a study conducted for Dunham+Company in October 2010, the
ratio was slightly more than two to one.
"We conducted this survey because we wanted to see if direct
mail was diminishing as a source for online donations, and if so, what was
driving the increase in online giving," said company president Rick Dunham
. "Finding that direct mail
has actually grown as a driver to online donations and that online efforts were
not really moving the needle was a bit of a shock."
both favour direct mail
In addition, 50% of donors surveyed in 2012 said they prefer
to give online when they receive a letter in the mail from a charity. In 2010, only
38% said they preferred to give online after getting a letter.
The proportion of donors ages 40-59 who reported giving
online in response to direct mail rose to 47% in 2012 from 34% in 2010. Among
donors age 60 or older, online giving prompted by a direct mail appeal rose
from 18% in 2010 to 24% in 2012.
Fifty-three percent of donors in households earning $75,000
or more preferred to respond online to a direct mail appeal, a jump from 42% in
2010. The same is true for 52% of women, up from 39% in 2010.
losing influence on giving
Interestingly, websites lost ground in driving online
giving: Only 11% of donors said what they saw on a charity's website motivated
a gift, down from 15% in 2010. In addition, email may be driving fewer donors
to give online: only 5% of respondents now say they gave an online gift as the
result of an e-mail, compared to 6% in 2010.
influence on under-40s growing
Social media shows a very small improvement in motivating an
online gift among donors 40 years old or older (10% in this survey; 8% in
2010). However, social media giving continues to grow among donors under age 40:
30% now say they have given online because of social media compared to 24% in
"Charities need to be very circumspect about where they put
their fundraising dollars," Dunham continued. "It's clear that it's a mistake
to reduce offline communications thinking the online activity is what is
driving online giving. This is especially important considering the way the
core donor demographic of 40 and older is responding online when receiving
The most recent study
was part of a Campbell Rinker Donor Confidence Survey conducted April 22-28,
2012 online among 494 adult donors who gave at least $20 in 2011. The 2010 and
2012 results were weighted by age to reflect the general U.S. population. The
margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence
For more information, visit http://www.dunhamandcompany.com.