The last 12 months of mail campaigns collected by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive represent a fairly clean divide between the half that was planned prior to the financial meltdown and the half that went into development during and after.
In terms of overall mail volume, nonprofits accounted for 18.2 percent of the mailstream from August 2008 to this past July. This proved to be a little bit of a drop-off from the 21.7 percent penetration of nonprofit mail between December 2007 and November 2008 but came close to the standard set in the prior three periods. In general, nonprofit mail during the February-May span outpaces its August-January counterpart, but the recent period produced a more dramatic contrast than usual, with a difference in excess of three percentage points. This trend likely is the result of severe reductions in financial mail, among other categories.
We noticed the use of premiums increased by almost a third from 2007 to 2008, and that pattern is holding steady into 2009. In addition, nonprofits are showing that premium use and freemium use are not mutually exclusive, even in a down economy. The inclusion of goodies to coax recipients inside mail packs comes in at a robust 31.3 percent for the last 12 months. Further, freemium use spiked this past March and produced almost nearly as strong a showing in July. With consumers feeling tapped out, nonprofits appear to have adjusted their mailing approach to bring a little largesse into prospects’ and donors’ lives.
Nonprofits have been offering pens, bookmarks, notepads, note cards and even more inventive, flat pieces for easier insertion. For example, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that trains guide dogs to serve the visually impaired, included a magnifier in its July effort (Archive code #604-171929-0907). Religious nonprofit Franciscan Mission Associates shared a laminated St. Anthony prayer card containing a swatch of cloth that was touched to the saint’s relic (Archive code #609-177923-0907).