Who's Spending The Marketing Dollars These Days?

Looks like fundraisers aren't slimming down their packages lately - they're beefing them up. Sandy Rees, CFRE at her Get Fully Funded blog asks, "Do you know when the best times are to mail a fundraising appeal?" She gives the answer, "Studies show that there are definitely months of the year that produce better results than others. October is the best month to mail." Ok, so that may explain why fundraising efforts that arrive in my mailbox lately are chock-full of incentives for me to give. Case in point, these two recent efforts from Paralyzed Veterans of America.

In a test situation where the fundraiser mails one group of people one kit and another group of people another kit to see which package gets the most response, I should have only received one of these packages. Nevertheless, I am now the lucky recipient of a Holiday Favorites music CD which arrived in the "Christmas in September" package, as well as a free notepad with a patriotic (Labor Day tie-in) motif AND address labels to match the notepad. Chances are, these two kits are NOT testing against one another. There was probably an oversight in the scheduling and list selection that enabled me to get both kits on the same day last week. But since I did get both and I know the mailer has put a lot of money into these free gifts, I am inclined to donate to this charity, as I have done in the past.

However, a situation like this where two kits arrive at the same address on the same day could turn out to be a big waste of the charity's money if the recipient doesn't make a donation in response to either package. Also, even if the recipient gives a gift, if it's not "enough," then it won't offset the cost of mailing two kits to the same address on the same day. In a perfect world, the Christmas kit should have been sent to me in October, as a kind of follow-up, 2nd effort to the notepad/label kit - IF I didn't reply to the first effort.

Such is life. Who knows? There may have been some delays or problems at the inserting or printing stage.

What we can see is that fundraisers aren't being shy about spending money on their direct mail appeals. In this economy, that's a good thing for direct marketer vendors serving these charities. Instead of mailing 2-color packages with standard No. 10 envelopes, a letter, reply card and BRE (bare bones), fundraisers are inserting calendars, using custom 4-color envelopes, mailing CDs and more. Hopefully, people who receive these costly packages will also open their wallets and give.

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