Direct Mail

How Direct Mail Helps Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

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There are many advantages of implementing direct mail into your marketing strategy. Many industries and sectors regularly use direct mail and have a well-thought-out strategy to target both new and existing customers. But what about other organisations and non-profits? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to show you how direct mail helps non-profit organisations meet their key KPIs.  

What is direct mail?

Firstly, let’s look at what exactly direct mail is. Direct mail is a form of advertising consisting of physically printed materials that are sent to an organisation’s supporters. It can take on many formats, with some of the most popular being in the form of postcards, letters and brochures. From raising brand awareness to promoting a particular message, direct mail is often a vital part of an organisation’s marketing strategy. 

What are Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)? 

Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs), most commonly referred to as Non-Profits, are organisations that are non-business entities. This means they do not seek to make a profit but rather provide a public service or societal benefit, such as helping vulnerable people or protecting the environment. Non-Profits need to make enough money in order to cover their costs, such as wages, any rent & operational costs as well as marketing material. However, the rest of the money is then reinvested into the business or used in additional ways that are in line with the organisation’s overall mission. 

There are two main types of NPOs: charities and social enterprises. 


A charity is a type of NPO that aims to raise money for good causes. They are funded predominantly by donations, receive an element of tax relief and are also eligible for some government grants. 

Social Enterprises

Social enterprises are similar to traditional for-profit businesses, in that they trade products and services for money, however, they will use their profits to benefit society. One of the biggest examples of this is The Big Issue.

How can direct mail help NPOs?

Direct mail can help Non-Profits in a number of ways, from asking for donations to promoting their products. But first, let’s look at the two main types of direct mail campaigns that will be important to NPOs and will help Non-Profit Organisations meet their goals. 

Retention Campaigns 

Retention campaigns are designed to target customers that are already in the Non-Profit’s consumer base. They are therefore people who have previously bought, donated or signed up to their marketing communications. Direct mail can be run for a retention campaign, however, it is important to note that the marketing message will be slightly different to that of new customers. This is because these customers are already aware of the Non-Profit and therefore the messaging needs to work to receive repeat donations or business from them. 

Prospecting Campaigns 

Prospecting campaigns within a direct mail strategy are campaigns that target new customers or supporters. These individuals might not have heard of the Non-Profit before and therefore brand awareness will be key. In order to send to prospecting customers, we recommend carrying out a partially address mail technique that targets postcodes rather than individuals. 

What are the benefits of using direct mail for Non-Profits?

Now we know the different types of targeting campaigns, let’s really look into how direct mail helps Non-Profit Organisations. Did you know, that 82% of fundraisers use direct mail for their supporting and fundraising programmes? So, let’s examine all the benefits.


Personalisation is a big part of direct mail. As well as making the recipient feel valued (In a recent study, 70% of participants said receiving mail makes them feel valued) by receiving a personal piece of mail, there is also the ability to personalise direct mail by using the data from your consumer database. For instance, you can personalise a mailer with the receiver’s name, their last donation amount or last purchase. Personalisation and making your recipient feel valued is a great way to tailor the campaign to them and make them feel closer and more involved with the Non-Profit’s cause. Find out more on how Snapmail can support you with personalised direct mail. 

The Motor Neuron Disease Association is a great example of using personalised direct mail for their existing database in order to raise engagement around a recent appeal. The direct mailer uses the receivers name within a major heading to make them feel valued and to grab their attention. 

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High Response Rates

Despite the increase of ease of digital communication and emails, direct mail isn’t dead and response rates prove to be high with good engagement rates. 93% of fundraisers who use direct mail said that it enhances the supporter experience as well as helps build loyalty and engagement. Plus, it’s been found that each piece of charity mail is read and revisited an average of 4 times since its delivery. This figure completely outways the impact of email marketing, whereby an email is scanned and deleted in a matter of seconds. Direct mail can therefore help get your message across whilst stimulating a good engagement rate. 

Plan International UK’s retention campaign for those already sponsoring a child received great response rates from their direct mail campaign. After sending out sponsors a birthday card for their sponsored child, a personalised letter and a donation form, they receive a 21% response rate for the cash ask, with an average donation gift benign £18.31 and an 8% response rate to upgrading their current donation amount.  

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Complements other marketing channels

Another major benefit of direct mail is that although it can be effective alone, direct mail can also work really well and complement other marketing channels, both off and online, to create a totally 360 degree, omnichannel marketing campaign. By working alongside other marketing channels, it ensures that the consumer is receiving relevant messaging from the NPO at all contact points, therefore improving the impact of the messaging, resulting in a positive impact on the campaign’s overall success. 

Mental health charity Mind recently carried out a digital and offline 360-degree fundraising campaign that targeted both current and new supporters. It had over 4.5k responses with an average gift donation of £29 and a response rate of 7.3%. 

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Find new donors & supporters

By using the partially addressed mail technique, also known as ‘door drops’ mentioned earlier, Non-Profits have the ability to find new donors and supporters by simply targeting postcodes and key areas where they know their audiences are likely to reside. Door drops in the UK have the ability to reach nearly 30 million households! Plus, it’s been found that charity door drops are still in the home after 1 week, meaning multiple pairs of eyes are likely to see the campaign. 

A good example of this is the Macmillan Cancer Support door drop, which used postcodes to target potential supporters and asked for £5 per month donations. 

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Promote organisation’s current needs & news

Direct mail can be a really great and creative way of promoting a Non-Profits current needs, news and big messages. Whether this is an urgent appeal for donations or for a charity event taking place, direct mail can be used to get the key message across to the receiver, often in a visual and engaging way. 

The wildlife charity WWF has a great example of using all aspects of direct mail (including the envelope!) to capture the reader’s attention and get their key point across all from the very first glance. 

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How can a mailing house help with direct mail for Non-Profits? 

A mailer house such as Snapmail can help Non-Profit Organisations with all their direct mail needs. From initial campaign planning and design, through to overall management, high-quality printing, postage, fulfilment and tracking. We have vast experience working with Non-Profits to deliver effective and successful direct mail campaigns whilst offering exclusive cost-savings on bulk postage
Get in touch online or by phone on 0333 577 0444 whereby the team can answer any of your questions and give a free quotation.