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The Great Debate: DM vs. Online Acquisition

As a former direct mail diva, I have a constant debate in my head about which type of donor/member acquisition is "best" – online or direct mail?

Fortunately for me, I had the chance to moderate a debate between two experts (one in each field) at the recent DMAW/AFP Bridge Conference.  And fortunately for you, Fundraising Success Magazine, featured an article I wrote summarizing the findings of the session – so check it out! ...and let me know what you think!

Special thanks again to the debate paricipants, Krista Harte Sassaman of Epsilon and Vinne Wishrad of Conservation International. 

Feel free to email me at karen@earth.care2.com if you would like a copy of the presentation materials. 

Reader Comments (2)

Just looking at a glance to my email inbox and my post office box, it occurs to me that, at least when it comes to soliciting donations, the difference in direct mail and online appeals is in the framing of the appeal.

The items that come to me by mail seemingly approach the process of separating me from my money by appealing to my human decency and asking me to "become a member" or "support the work of (fill in the blank). I'm given all the reasons the organization does what they do, how the money will help support X,Y, and Z, and a charity navigator rating.

Items coming to my inbox have urgency to the appeal such as "Help Stop the Squashing of Miniature Giant Porcupines" or "Let's Put This Ad On the Air" and appeal to me more in a consumeristic sense. That is, I'm giving money immediately, to something very specific and without the real sense of having a longterm connection or obligation.

In the end, I don't think that its practical to pick one type of delivery over another. So really I'd be interested to know what the panelists and other people think about what the difference between highly successful appeals are in both methods, not the difference as to whether one method is superior to another.
July 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
"Can't we all just get along"....

Donor silos are set to fail. Donors are donors, we can market to them based on behavior, but we also must remember that donors are fickle and might feel like answering their phone or mail one day. So it is important to use a Multiple means of communication...

Our research for one client demonstrates this specifically: In analyzing the behavior of First Time Online Donors from the current membership, 27 % gave to a prospect direct mail package and 17% to a direct mail or phone appeal. 21.6 % were renewed donors who had given thru the mail or phone prior to making their FIRST online gift. We then analyzed subsequent gift behavior POST first time online gift. 24% gave their next gift online donors and 48% gave their next gift either through direct mail or the phone.

So stop the food fight and gather at the common table - there is a big feast to enjoy.

Kim Cubine, Adams Hussey & Assoc
July 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkim cubine

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