All things COVID aside, there’s never been a better time to be Canadian – amiright?

Nice, friendly people, free healthcare, gorgeous scenery, timbits and all-dressed chips.

The bottom line is – Canada is awesome. And the charitable donors in this country? Even awesomer.

But like so many things, fundraising benchmarks, data and research is mostly based out of the USA, and often leaves us Canucks with many unanswered questions concerning philanthropic activity in this country.

In particular, there was a significant knowledge gap when it came to Direct Mail benchmarks. Here at Good Works, we were often asked, “How is my program doing compared to the marketplace?” And the truth is, while we had a good idea, we really couldn’t answer with absolute certainty. We needed DATA!

So a couple years ago, we decided it was time to dive right into it – and give Canadian fundraisers the answers they needed about direct mail donors.

Our first report launch in 2019, using data from our rock star clients. And earlier this year, with the help of 52 amazing organizations from coast to coast, Good Works released the 2020 Direct Mail Benchmarks Report. If you haven’t had a chance to read it (you can grab your copy here), here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Direct mail revenues grew in 2019 by more than 5% from the previous year
  • Active direct mail donors renewed their giving at a rate of 66.5%
  • The average response rate for an acquisition program now sits below 1%, at 0.87%

So what’s next?

The report was eye-opening in many ways, and finally gave the philanthropic industry a snapshot of direct mail response in Canada. And while these benchmarks are a fantastic guide for direct mail fundraisers, we’re well aware that we shouldn’t make sweeping assumptions about all donors or charities.

So the next step is clear – and it means we need MORE DATA! The goal for the 2021 report is to establish benchmarks by sector, size and revenue levels. That means hospitals or environmental groups will have their own benchmarks to look to, and small charities can compare their program to other organizations of a similar size.

Sounds pretty great, huh? But we can’t do it without your help, fellow fundraiser! If you and your team would like to participate in the next report, please fill out this form by January 15, 2021.

The data we require is high-level performance and revenue figures – likely quantities that you already have at your fingertips at year-end! And you’ll have until February 15, 2021 to submit it.

Still have questions? Feel free to email me anytime – and check out our FAQs, below! Thank you in advance for your contribution to Canadian fundraising!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What do you need from me to participate?

We’ll be looking for donor and revenue data from your 2019 and 2020 direct mail programs – things like the total number of direct mail donors, direct mail gifts, new donors and renewed donors. We will not be asking for donor names, emails or address information.

Q. What are the requirements to participate?

We are looking for charities of all shapes and sizes! The only two requirements we ask of participants are:

  1. Your organization should have a direct mail program that has been on-going for a minimum of 3 consecutive years (since 2018 or prior)
  2. Your charity sends at least 1,000 pieces of mail each year

Q. When do you need me to submit this data to you?

The data is due on February 15, 2021. We’ll send you detailed instructions when you sign up here.

Q. How long will this take me?

We say about an hour, but this really depends on the efficiency of your database. You’ll likely be able to pull these numbers with a few simple queries – and many of you likely already have these numbers at hand. As a thank you for your time and effort, you’ll receive a complimentary custom report of your organization’s benchmarks, as compared the sector’s benchmarks.

Q. How will my data be protected?

The data we’re looking for will not include your donors’ personal information, and will only be viewed by three Good Workers. The final report will have absolutely no identifiable information that could be traced back to any of the participating organizations.

Q. When will the final report be ready?

If all goes smoothly, we’re aiming to have this report ready for you early in April 2021.

Q. Who do I talk to if I still have questions?

I’m happy to answer any and all questions you have – now or throughout the entire process! This is a purely Canadian report, after all. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at or by telephone at 613-909-4174.