The Who’s Mailing What! Archive divides mail into nearly 200 categories, and fundraising took up a whopping 12.4 percent of total mail volume in the first quarter (January through March) of 2007. Since it’s such a major player, fundraising drives trends in the direct mail industry, especially regarding the use of certain elements of a package like personalization, as well as leveraging repeat mailings as a money-saving strategy.
In order to raise money for its causes and organizations, it’s no surprise that most fundraising mailers rely heavily on personalization. The fundraising sector represented an impressive 23.2 percent of all personalized mail, and within fundraising efforts only, a full 55.8 percent used personalization in the first quarter of 2007. This is a trend that’s only increased over the past few years, as the first quarter of 2005 had 48.8 percent of total fundraising efforts use personalization and 49.7 percent in the first quarter of 2006.
Understandably more money-conscious than other sectors, fundraising mailers help stay within budget also by using more repeat mailings and sticking with successful controls. Among total repeat mail in the first quarter of 2007, fundraising took up 16.2 percent. Of fundraising mail alone in the first quarter, 35.3 percent was repeat mail. Perhaps indicative of mailers overhauling packages in advance of the postal rate increase and changes in categorizing, that figure actually was down from previous years; in the first quarter of 2005 and 2006, 49.5 percent and 56.7 percent of total fundraising mail were repeat efforts.
On the flip side of the coin, fundraising mail didn’t dominate in all elements of a package, particularly premiums and self-mailers. The sector put its dollars into freemiums rather than premiums, which represented only 10.2 percent of first-quarter fundraising mail—and 7.4 percent of all first-quarter mail with premiums.