Although summer tends to mean lower mail volume from nonprofits, less mail does not necessarily mean less variety in the use of different direct mail tactics and creative elements.
Case in point: envelope sizes. While nonprofit mailers are pretty uniform in their preference for envelopes—96.5 percent in August—there’s quite a bit of variety in the sizes they use.
Like most sectors, nonprofits heavily mail the #10 (43.6 percent), but unlike other sectors they also make use of some less-common standard sizes, such as #11 (2.7 percent), #14 (1.8 percent) and #7-3/4 (2.7 percent). In each of these cases, nonprofits accounted for about half of all instances of these sizes in the Archive’s August mailstream.
Other sizes that appeared from nonprofits include: 6˝ x 9˝ (8.2 percent); 5-1/4˝ x 7-1/4˝, which is a standard invitation size, (6.4 percent); 9˝ x 12˝ (5.5 percent); and 4˝ x 6˝ (3.6 percent—nonprofits were the only mailers to use this size in August).
Another prime example is premiums. Just under 16 percent of nonprofit efforts featured these response-boosters, and the types of gifts offered are all over the board, with nothing emerging as a clear favorite. Books, stuffed animals, tote bags, mugs and note cards all appeared in multiple efforts. Further, one-third of these back-end gifts were tied to a specific donation amount; that amount ranged from a low of $15 to a high of $100.
Another 22 percent of nonprofit mailers featured a suggested donation amount not tied to a premium. That amount spanned from $3 to $57.67 (yes, you read that right), with an average of just under $25.
Looking deeper into ask strings, nonprofit mailers were pretty split on their starting amounts. Some 28.4 percent began gift ladders at $10 or less; 22 percent began them between $10.01 and $20; 17.4 percent fell in the $20.01 to $30 range; 11 percent between $30.01 and $40; 14.7 percent in the $40.01 to $50 span; and just 6.4 percent started their ask string at $50.01 or higher. On the high end of the ask string, nonprofits truly were all over the map, ranging from a top donation of just $3 (Paralyzed Veterans) all the way up to $36,000 (American Israeli Public Affairs).