Despite contrary impressions given by fundraisers, the message is invariably vastly more important than the medium. Direct mail's track record far outweighs that of email.
Today, direct mail consistently delivers fundraising income in volume; email's results seem patchy at best. Some fundraisers might be mailing less because times are hard. But then, some fundraisers are also cutting fundraising investment, despite all the experience indicating that they should be doing the opposite.
Craig Linton is fundraising director at the sight-loss charity the RLSBNo. Money raised through email is still a fraction of direct mail income and it is likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.
Email fundraising works best in a genuine emergency, or when it complements direct mail: for example, when you send an email to donors a few days before a letter lands, or as a reminder to respond before a deadline. Too often, donors who say "send me only email" never give again, despite their good intentions. The post provides something tangible that email struggles to replicate.