Regular Agitator readers know that we regularly write articles and white papers with titles like Don't Throw Away Your Postage Meter! In other words, we think there's a ton of money still to be raised via direct mail.

That said, we're not Luddites. The future belongs to online fundraising, with direct mail occupying important niches as well as helping close the sale in multi-channel fundraising campaigns.

Here is a good article by Vinay Bhagat, Convio's founder and chief strategy officer, reviewing current trends in online fundraising. It's a “must read.”

Convio's data shows median online fundraising growth at 23%, comparing first six months of 2006 to the same period in 2007. Some sectors, like Environment & Wildlife, Visitation (museums, zoos, performing arts) and Education grew over 50%. And the median growth in e-list size over that window was 32% … many of these donors and prospects being new and younger.

While touting online fundraising, Vinay also provides important illustrations from Defenders of Wildlife and the ASPCA on the efficacy of multi-channel integrated fundraising.

For example, ASPCA uses a four-part email series, combined with a six-part direct mail series, to convert 5% of all new website registrants to donors within their first 12 months. That's impressive!

Good observations, Vinay!

Roger & Tom

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