In the last quarter of 2006, UK charities sent more than 132 million mailings, compared with about 121 million during the same period in 2005.
Royal Mail claims these numbers illustrate the importance of direct mail as a fundraising tool for charities, both for reaching out to new donors and retaining existing ones. According to the organisation's research, 21 per cent of people prefer to send in donations by mail, while 5 per cent favour online donations and a further 5 per cent opt to donate over the phone.
"The charity sector has long recognised the benefits of direct mail, and these figures reinforce its importance to them as a marketing tool," said Emily Travis, market development manager at Royal Mail.
Mike Barnes, director of marketing at the Direct Marketing Association, added that although it is important to use a mix of fundraising techniques, direct mail is especially beneficial because it allows charities to target specific groups.
“Is it the best method? Well, at the moment, it certainly is the most trusted and the most effective," he said.