More donors to international groups now say they prefer charities to contact them by e-mail (61%) over mailed letters (54%). Both of these methods are many times more popular than other methods such as telephone, text message, and in-person, none of which garner the support of over four percent of donors. Nine percent of donors prefer not to be contacted by any method. These figures total more than 100% because donors could select more than one option.
This is a rise in preference for email and a drop in preference for letters. In 2008 71% of donors to International causes (and 63% of all donors) preferred postal mail, and only 33% preferred email (29% for all donors).
However, direct mail letters are still the champ in terms of generating donations: 43% of donors to International causes say they have given in the past twelve months because of a letter they received. E-mail comes in second at 28%, and fundraising events are third at 23%.
Letters were especially popular with older donors. There is a direct correlation – the older the donor, the more likely they are to have given because of a letter. This likelihood peaks with 61% of respondents over 70 years old having given because of a letter, compared to just 22% giving because of a letter for those under age 40.
Surprisingly, no such correlation was found between age and response to email solicitations. Apparently older donors have embraced giving via email to the same degree as younger donors.
These giving stats also represent a decline for giving due to letters and an increase due to giving because of email. When the same study was conducted in 2008, 50% of donors to International causes gave because of a letter they received in the previous year, compared to only 15% due to an email. Since that study, e-mail has risen from eighth-place popularity in methods of response to second-place.
Methodology: These results come from a survey conducted in October and November of 2011. The study collected the opinions, perceptions, and preferences of over 2,600 donors to organizations that provide international relief, development, and child sponsorship. This level of response provides for a sampling error of ±1.9% at the 95% confidence level, though the number of donors responding to a given question fluctuates. Invitation lists were provided by five international relief/development/child sponsorship charities. Surveying was conducted by Internet (94%), phone (3%), and mail (3%).