Head of UK Sales, Steve Travi, reviews the mailing challenges the Third Sector faces
If we listed all the challenges charities and fundraisers face in their efforts to make the world a better place, we’d be writing a book not a blog so we’ll stick to what we do best, helping charities deliver compliant, effective, affordable communications.
We’re living in uncertain times and understandably individuals and businesses are concerned about their finances. Fears of interest rates and food prices rising post Brexit, long term effects of austerity, whatever the reasons, we understand that charities are having to work a lot harder to get financial support. We can’t wave a magic wand for this one, but we can help you get the most from your communications budget through a range of media from direct mail to SMS. A favourite in the charity sector, our Digi-Mail platform allows you to upload your letters to an online portal, click send and leave the printing, enveloping and sending to us; saving you significant administration hours as well as money.
We’ll help you save money on your mail and support you with the best methods to keep your supporters informed and engaged.
Note: As highlighted in the most recent CAF UK Giving Report, the number of people giving to charity has decreased, but values have gone up. The older demographic (42%) are most likely to have responded to direct mail against 11% of 16-24 year olds.
Fake news, the rare but headline hitting stories on unethical practice and other negative reporting has unfortunately led to unprecedented reputational challenges for the third sector.
Transparency and effective communication are the best ways to combat this issue and being able to demonstrate that your charity is proactive in saving money when it comes to things like administration is a good place to start! At Citipost Mail we understand the needs and unique challenges of the charity sector and we work closely with you to make sure you have access to all the incentives and discounts that you are entitled to.
Note: the CAF UK Giving Reports highlights that charities should be working harder to increase trust and communications amongst men.
3.Direct Mail v email
Did you know that 51% of people prefer to receive sensitive or confidential information by post, as opposed to 35% by email?
If that’s not convincing enough for you, then consider that 75% of business mail stays in the home for over four weeks and is revisited an average of five times. Just think of how many emails end up in your junk mail, never being seen, how many you delete without even opening and how much easier on the conscience it is to press delete than it is to put a letter you’ve read in the bin.
If you’re not sure of the best ways to make the most of direct mail for your campaigns, speak to us and we’ll be happy to advise you on how to get the best return on investment.
4.Freeing up time
Whether it’s paid staff or volunteers, we know you have better things to be doing than printing letters, stuffing envelopes, standing at the franking machine and trudging to the post box. Which is why we developed Digi-Mail, our desktop-to-door delivery service that allows you to upload your letter on your computer, click send and leave the rest to us. Say goodbye to the time and money expenditure associated with your franking machine and direct your capital and resources to where it makes the most impact.
Read the case study to see how Digi-Mail transformed communications for Cancer Support UK
5.Getting the message out there quickly
When a crisis occurs and you need to reach out to your supporters for urgent funds you can’t always wait for a letter to reach them, and we know that emails don’t always reach the inbox or get opened so why not use our SMS solution. With a staggering 98% open rate, 90% of messages read within ten minutes and a proven customer click through rate of 45%, SMS gets results from as little as 3.25p a message.
SMS isn’t just for emergency fundraising though, it’s a cost-efficient platform to automate communications and convey your appreciation for donations too. Giving it that personal touch and going the extra mile to say thank you.
6.Don’t be reliant on one revenue channel
It’s easy to become reliant on one revenue channel e.g. cash donations, but it’s crucial that you maintain momentum and are proactive in seeking successful avenues to engage your supporters. Even if your fundraising challenge doesn’t go viral, by capturing the imaginations and hearts of your audience you can gain their lifelong loyalty and make you their charity of choice. To do that you need to communicate. Keep supporters updated using transparent and creative marketing. You want them to look forward to receiving your letters, not go straight for the recycling bin. Your Citipost Mail customer experience manager can work with you to help you with best practice advice to make sure your campaigns hit their target.
7.Fear of change
“But we’ve always done it this way”. How many times do you hear that in a week? Just because something has worked for years, it can always be improved, or even replaced with better technology. Achieving better results, including ROI, sometimes means making big decisions. That may be something as radical as reviewing and ultimately changing how you communicate with your stakeholders, or it may be simple case of trialling new software, such as Digi-Mail, to see if it is more efficient (we know it will be, but we want you to see that for yourselves).
As we often say in the Citipost Mail office, “Change is not to be feared, it is to be embraced, because it can always be changed again”.
Partnerships in the charity sector are traditionally corporate partnerships, with guaranteed income and often long-term commitment. But what about your supplier partnerships? How often do you review your suppliers to ensure you are getting the best service delivery and value for money? The days of using the same company for your printing services or office supplies, just because you have used them for years are long gone (unless of course they continue to offer the best rates and customer service). Find the time to review your partnerships and make sure you are still compatible!
We’ve touched on transparency already, but when 17% of people don’t donate due to a lack of knowledge about a charity’s activity and 41% are motivated to donate by belief in a cause, it’s clear that you need to be sharing your news and your vision. Show people where their money is being spent and how it has helped, and they are much more likely to become stakeholders in your cause. If you need any advice on how to get access to the best rates for U.K. and International mail rates, get in touch.
GDPR has been the cause of many sleepless nights across myriad industry sectors and the Third Sector hasn’t been excluded. Whilst we wait for the outcome of the Information Commissioner’s Office’s consultation on an updated Direct Marketing Code of Practice (announced at the beginning of 2020) there is plenty of guidance available to maintain compliance. The Institute of Fundraising is a great place to start, as is our client services team. Get in touch if you want to learn more about Partially Addressed Mail (standard addressed advertising mail which doesn’t use personal data) or have any other questions about direct mail and GDPR compliance.
The services and solutions we provide here at Citipost Mail, combined with our expertise in the charity sector and our 99% customer retention rate, make us the preferred choice for streamlining mail operations for a number of charities. You can read some of their case studies here or give us a call on 0203 2600240 and we will talk about what we can do for you.