Today people are bombarded with advertising messages from TV, newspapers, magazines, radio, and the Internet — so it can be difficult to get their attention. Direct mail is a way to do that. Direct mail can help build relationships that result in ongoing financial support, resulting in long-term change in your companies business generation.

Following are some reasons to use direct mail for your project. These reasons often refer to “sales, “but don’t let that confuse you. Remember that your organization or project is a type of “product” that you are trying to sell to past and potential donors.

1. It is cost efficient. Studies show that, on average, every dollar spent on direct mail brings in 10 times that in donations or sales of a product. It brings a return of more than twice that generated by a TV ad.

2. You reach prospects that want to hear from you. Surprising but true, more than half of American households say they would actually like to receive more direct mail or that they would enjoy receiving some.

3. Consumers are receptive to direct mail. Americans spent more than $244 billion in response to direct mail in 1996.

4. Businesses are receptive to direct mail. Over $145 billion in business-to-business sales were attributed to direct mail in 1997.

5. It is a powerful revenue-building tool with a growing potential. By using direct mail to reach out to consumers, businesses can expect sales to increase more than 7 percent between the years 2000 and 2002.

6. It works. In 1996, nearly 57 percent of the adult U.S. population placed an order by mail for a product or service.

7. It is flexible. You can mail anyone your message at any time, using any format. You can send postcards, letters, or brochures — depending upon what your organization wants to use and the budget.

8. It can be focused. Mass media is more of a shotgun approach to a large, diverse universe of potential consumers. Direct mail, on the other hand, can be targeted to a single individual, at a single address. You know exactly whom you are speaking to. You can choose precisely the audience you want to reach and speak to them one-to-one. You aren’t wasting postage on people not wanting to hear your message.

9. It has predictability and measurability. There’s no guesswork. By carefully testing and tracking your mailings on a small scale you can effectively predict the revenues that will result from a large campaign. Additionally, the results of a direct mail campaign can be measured with precision. You know exactly how many pieces were sent out, who got them, how much each piece cost to send, and how many people responded. This information makes it easy to calculate cost-per-response. You can also track how many repeat donations were made, and how much was generated by mailings over a longer time period.

10. It is a unique, private message that the consumer can hold and think about. It gives them a message they can read at their leisure and think about for more than a few seconds. By reaching them through their personal mailboxes and not through more “public” environments like the airwaves or the Internet, it offers a unique message that speaks to them “in private.” Other messages that aren’t in print can be fleeting — and much more expensive. If the message doesn’t get across, the consumer will not respond to it.