Reprinted from Grizzard, original post by Chip Grizzard on 6/3/2010
Don’t Panic if You Have Not Adjusted to Digital
Most every industry whitepaper, blog post, and trends report points to a similar conclusion. Single channel direct mail is on the decline and digital fundraising is rapidly increasing. While most seem to point to similar recommendations, there is wide disagreement on how fast this change is going to take place. I have heard ranges from direct mail will be dead in 5 years to direct mail will never die.
Based on current trends as reported by Target Analytics and Convio, I think the typical organization will (or should) be raising at least 50% of its revenue from individuals via channels other than direct mail by 2016. Today, most organizations are less than 10%. But this takes a commitment and focus to integrating your message across traditional and digital channels.
For organizations that are not investing outside of traditional mail, they are sure to experience a funding gap. Their direct mail revenue will begin to decline and it will not be offset by online giving fast enough. The internet’s impact on other industries has not shown to be a linear impact. As adoption increases, the decline accelerates.
Over the past 10 years, the entire purchase model for catalogers flipped from mailing back an order card to receiving a catalog and placing orders by web or phone. The exact same thing is happening in fundraising. Direct mail will still be used as a communication tool, but the method donors choose to respond is and will continue to change.
If your organization is slow to adjust to these new realities, don’t panic. There is time, but take action now. It’s an exciting time to be in fundraising, but only for those willing to change their approach.