FUNDRAISING NEWS: Planet Ark targets direct mailers

Emma Maier

Charities that use direct mail to engage supporters will find that the tables have turned this week when they become the target of a postcard campaign designed to reduce the amount of waste created by 'junk mail'.

Australian-based environmental group Planet Ark will distribute 10,000 postcards to organisations that use direct mail to make them aware of the environmental impact of their product.

In order to ensure that the postcards do not contribute to the problem, the cards were printed on recycled paper using a chlorine-free manufacturing process, and are not being sent out in a blanket mailing

"We will be distributing cards at Direct Mail Association shows and those that are mailed out will be carefully targeted," said Planet Ark spokeswoman Lara Shannon.

The group, which was founded by former Wimbledon tennis champion Pat Cash and global charity campaigner Jon Dee in 1991, will also be placing adverts in the trade press to encourage charities and companies to improve the targeting of direct mail.

The campaign highlights the financial and environmental costs of badly targeted direct mail and its potential to annoy supporters and customers.

The postcard warns that last year, 500,000 tonnes of mailers and flyers were sent out to the UK public, but that one third weren't interested in receiving them. It also says that 95 million items were sent to the wrong address or to people who were no longer alive.

The postcard points out that these inefficiencies cost up to £51m a year and urges recipients to visit the Direct Mail Association website to find out how to better target mailings.

Planet Ark was commissioned to run the campaign by the Direct Mail Association and the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs, to help reduce the amount of direct mail waste that ends up in landfill sites.

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