Direct mail is used extensively by UK Charities

UK charities are spending the bulk of their advertising budgets on direct mail

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According to a new report, UK charities spent £394m on advertising in 2013, with sixty one per cent of the total going on direct mail.

The research, which was conducted by nfpSynergy involved analysing charities’ advertising spend over the past eight years . The results showed that last year, UK charities spent the second highest amount in the last eight years on advertising; a total of £394.4m, which was just under the £400m spent in 2011. It also found that the majority of charities actually spend more of their advertising budget on direct mail than anything else. Last year alone they spent £238.9m; this averaged at 69% of their total marketing spend since 2006.

Direct mail vs. the internet

One thing that the report highlighted that was very interesting was the fact that UK charities are spending only 2% of their entire advertising budgets on internet adverts. This is a percentage that has only risen by 1% since 2006. Whereas in the advertising industry in general the spend on internet advertising has continued to increase since 2010. In 2013 internet advertising was worth 46% (£14 billion) increasing by 29% since 2006.

So what is it that is putting charities off from spending their advertising budgets on internet advertising like the rest of the industry? Are they behind with technology? Do they see it as a waste of money? Or have they simply found that direct mail is the best form of marketing for them?

Benefits of direct mail for charities

Of course direct mail campaigns do provide many benefits to charities. They are a great way to build a relationship and spark an emotion connection with supporters. Direct mail is also very cost effective and the fact that it is tangible (allowing people to physically pick it up and read it) helps to achieve a higher response rate. However charities must be careful when creating direct mail shots to ensure their data is up-to-date. Earlier this year it was reported that direct mail is the most complained about charity tactic.

Other findings

Something else that is notable from the report was the fact that charities are continuing to increase their spend on TV ads. In 2013 they increased their spend on television advertising by 20% (spending £77.1m) from 7.8% in 2006 (£23.2m). Clearly this suggests that charities are not frugal with their advertising budgets and instead find that television advertising and direct mail advertising in particular offer the best return on investment.

If you have any questions relating to business investments in direct mail contact Baker Goodchild on 0800 612 1972.

Image Credit: Howard Lake

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