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While some organizations are abandoning direct mail in favor of a digital strategy, not every nonprofit is standing by that move. American Cancer Society (ACS) recently announced that after suspending their direct mail acquisition program new donors declined by 11 percent and new donor revenue dropped by $11.3 million. The change resulted in a loss of $29.5 million over five years.

American Cancer Society Suspends Direct Mail, Loses $29.5 Million

ACS paused its direct mail acquisition program in January 2013 when the organization transitioned from 13 separate divisions into one single 501(c)(3). Direct mail was relaunched in June 2014.

In 2012, ACS generated 252,000 new donors through its $10 million investment in the direct mail acquisition program. Multi-year donors generate 45 to 48 percent of total revenue, which peaked in 2008 at about $1.2 billion.

“It’s tempting to look at things through a one-year lens, but the runway for direct mail acquisition is much longer than that. For every $1 we invest in direct mail acquisition, we bring in $7 over the course of three years,” said Catharine Holihan, Director of Direct Marketing at ACS. “We need acquisition to feed the core audience or else the entire program loses profitably through the course of the natural customer cycle,” she said.

“At Pursuant we believe strongly in leveraging a multichannel approach for acquisition, reactivation, retention and upgrade. Our client results prove that it works. Direct mail, done well, is a critical component of an intentional, integrated strategy to drive exponential results at every level of the donor pyramid,” said Pursuant Executive Vice President, Rebecca Gregory Segovia.

Have you implemented a multichannel approach in your fundraising?