Email has overtaken direct mail as the method of marketing communication preferred by consumers, according to research by CCB Marketing-GAP.
The study asked 200 marketing professionals and 4,000 consumers, selected to mirror the population, their views on charity marketing throughout July and August.
Consumers responded to questions on 34 marketing issues, with 12 of them specifically on attitudes to charities. Marketers were asked to predict the consumers' answers.
About 26 per cent of the consumer respondents selected email, with direct mail chosen by only a fifth. Only 15 per cent of the marketers correctly predicted email's ascendancy.
The responses showed a gap between the opinions of donors and marketers, suggesting that the latter's pre-conceived ideas about donor preferences and motivations are largely out of touch with reality.
About half of the consumers said they donated to charity - only 17 per cent of the marketers predicted this correctly.
The proportion who do open and read direct mail packs again surprised the experts, who believed that less than half the consumers would respond positively. In fact, 73 per cent of individuals said they opened and read some items.