Yes, yes, we all know: the future of fundraising is digital, and direct mail is dead.
So it’s all sunshine and rainbows on the digital fundraising side, then – right? Uh, not exactly. According to A love letter to digital advertising from a direct mail CEO, there are some serious dark clouds overhead that threaten to rain on the digital parade, like:
- Email inboxes crammed with junk that nobody wants
- Privacy breeches everywhere
- Fake news
- Fake influencers
- Bots that inflate the number of followers
- Click farms that pump up engagement numbers
- Misleading metrics about number of clicks, reach, and influence
Let’s face it: anyone with a laptop and an internet connection knows these things are true. Who among us hasn’t looked at their inbox and groaned at all the useless crap. Same for social media.
The fatigue that people are feeling from digital marketing is there, and it affects fundraising response. If you’ve ever tried to raise money with email, you know how hard it is.
And yet, it would be as foolish to predict the death of digital as it has been to predict the death of direct mail.
Digital-oriented companies like Wayfair and Blue Apron are using direct mail to reach customers. And when Google wants to target business owners, they use direct mail.
So, when nonprofits think they’re going to go online-only for their fundraising (because direct mail is too expense, and email is somehow “free”), they’re not. Direct mail and online have their problems when it comes to fundraising, but both are here to stay.