We live and die by the U.S. Postal System
So what about the mail? There has been lots of coverage on the slowdown by the USPS and the reasons. I am not going to get into that, but it does annoy me when the press talks about the slow down, and after they mention the most critical piece of mail in the near future - election ballots - they show great concern for every type of mail except non-profit mail. Even with online giving growing, direct mail is still the most important way non-profits connect with donors and receive contributed income.
The non-profits I have been talking to seem to ignore the issue, panicking, or making thoughtful plans. Let's look at the thoughtful plans some are looking at pursuing. One organization is looking at continuing their direct mail program but scaling it back a bit. They are mailing to all of their renewals and doing deep lapsed mailings, and where they might have mailed two hundred thousand pieces of acquisition mail, they are only doing a hundred thousand pieces. They are looking at using the saving from the mailing to try an email acquisition. This type of acquisition can be tricky. Believe it or not, there are more rules about sending emails then there are for postal mail.
The media has moved past the postal system on to new intrigues, but we still need to be confident that our Year-End direct mail pieces will arrive on time. It seems all we can do is plan on mailing early, receiving gifts late and hope that this is the year the email solicitation really breaks through for the average non-profit.