letters-direct-mail-post-officeI read a lot of articles about direct mail. Direct mail remains the best vehicle for non-profits to reach their donors—but, there is a hitch.

It seems a pretty substantial amount of the US population has wanderlust. You know, the desire to get up and move. Yes, literally move—as in “pack up the moving van, ‘cause we’re out of here” type of move.

At first blush, I thought this couldn’t be possible. But, as I thought about it more, I discovered this not only plausible, but true!

Everybody’s on the Move

First, the facts.

The United States Census Bureau published information from the 2016 Census showing 11.2% of the US population moved in 2016. What’s more astonishing, is they reported this as a historically low move rate.  The U.S. Census Bureau began tracking this information in 1948. Just so you’ll know, the highest percentage of moves occurred in/around 1984. You can find the graphic here >>

With what I found at the Census site, I began to ponder what I knew about our Advocace team and their tendency to relocate. Out of our staff, over 2/3rds of the staff relocated within the past three (3) years. And, one-third of the thirty-three percent had moved twice within that time-frame. These moves varied greatly as some were within a four-mile radius while others were from one state to another.

Updating Your Mailing Addresses

How does this apply to your direct mail program?

It means, you need to update the mailing addresses of your donors. Just think, if only 11.2% of your donors moved every year, over a three-year period that means 33.6% of your donors moved. Do you really want to lose 33.6% of your potential donations due to bad USPS addresses? I bet not!

Check with your printing/mail house company to see if they have NCOA (National Change of Address) licensing. If they don’t, there are third party organizations that can help you update your list for a fee. And, if you just want to “test drive” updating your donors’ mailing addresses, Experian offers a free trial. You can find it here >>

At Advocace we believe in the power of direct mail. If you need help with communicating with your donors, our eBook—How to Effectively Communicate with Your Donors—is a great place to start! You can download it here >>