Digital Vs Direct Mail #IOFNC

I like direct mail, I like digital. But which is better…

Okay it’s not about which is better, but is it possible for digital media to completely replace print for fundraising engagement and conversion in five years? That’s the subject of debate for what could be a cracking session at this year’s Institute of Fundraising National Convention. I’m torn.

Firstly, I’m a big fan of AJ Leon, so much so his last IOF appearance, unFundraising, was the subject of my first ever blog. He is a great fundraiser and speaker, but the area of my job that brings in the most consistent ROI is not my digital work, it’s our direct mail programme. And by a long way. So, for me at least, digital has got a long way to come to deliver the same conversion and ROI.

So Mr Pidgeon, who I have not heard speak but has all the credentials to give Mr Leon a run for his money, has some solid numbers to build his argument on I imagine. It’s going to take more than  just a few solid case studies to knock that down. However, we’re talking about what is going to happen in five years time. Digital already has print licked for reach, engagement and scalability. And it is evolving…fast!

There are organisations making digital work for fundraising now . According to CEO Scott Harrison when interviewed in January this year, 75 percent of charity:water’s donations come from the from the Web. In February, when I was at The Good Agency’s Social Media Week London event, Social Giving – fundraising’s “third way”?, Paul Young, charity:water’s Director of Digital, quoted 80 percent.

I admit, charity:water is the exception and not the rule. And it’s a pretty unique cause; they take no transaction fees from gifts to cover processing costs – 100% to the cause. But could their model or similar become the norm and how long will that take?

In five years, who else can catch charity:water and what tools will they have?

How well AJ Leon can answer that question, will decide if he can convince me that the very solid numbers Stephen Pidgeon can quote, can be beaten by digital within five years.

Personally, I hope digital makes that kind of impact as soon as possible.

Image credit: http://www.nationalconvention.org.uk/session.php?ref=12002&ret=s

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About medavep
I work in the UK charity sector and sometimes I blog about fundraising, digital and consumer experience. Sometimes I just moan.

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