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The past 12 months haven’t been too bad for the stalwart of fundraising, direct mail, but long-term trends are challenging. That’s forcing forward-thinking fundraisers to consider how they use the medium, says IVE Not-for-profit Head of Strategy Kerren Morris.



Mark Twain once quipped, after an American newspaper mistakenly printed his obituary: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

A close look at the figures, says Kerren, reveals a similar story for direct mail right now.

Pareto Bench-marking figures show that, viewed over 10 years, the long-term trend for income attributable to the medium is for slow growth. In 2018, for instance, income grew by 0.6%, taking the annual figure generated by direct mail to $228 million, which was higher than in all but two other years in the past decade.

This increase means that over the past decade, fundraising income from DM has almost doubled, growing by $96 million – from $132 million in 2008 to $228 million in 2018.

DM is far from dead. But taking income in isolation will create a false sense of security, says Kerren. Other trends are emerging.

Fewer People Giving More

Reflecting a broad trend across fundraising, the value of direct…

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