In the 2023 edition of our Canadian Direct Mail Benchmarks Report we cover a lot of ground. Along the way, we tackle the questions stuck in your fundraising head like 2000s pop songs.

How? Our research team used data from participant organizations to uncover key takeaways and sector-defining insights.

I’ve spent a lot of time with this report. I’ve continued to be wowed more than I ever expected about the direct mail landscape in Canada: direct mail continues to be a powerful fundraising tool.

A couple key takeaways

In terms of the year-over-year trends, many of the key benchmarks are down from the prior year. This includes house direct mail net revenue, which dropped 8%. Additionally, acquisition response rates fell to 0.87%.

But stay with me, there’s a huge kicker: charities who chose to increase or mail the same volume experienced less significant decline in gross and net revenue.

There’s a contrast there that’s illuminating.

There’s a real payoff from reaching deeper into your house file when thinking about long-term program health. At the same time, response rates for acquisition mailings dropped significantly this year.

These findings demonstrate something you’ve heard from us at Good Works a million times over – it is significantly cheaper to invest in keeping an existing donor than it is to acquire a new one.

Costs on the rise

The defense of direct mail is one many of us in fundraising take up, and for good reason. Data continues to show that it is both an effective and cost-efficient fundraising tool in our belt.

In 2022, we had to defend it a little harder for one key reason: increased production costs. The sector felt it, as did our clients here at Good Works. Stock shortages combined with rising paper prices kept questions around direct mail’s ROI top of mind.

Many Canadian charities wondered whether they should hit pause on their fundraising efforts or ask more often.

The report

Inside this year’s report, you’ll find all the Canadian direct mail benchmarks you’ve come to rely upon. That’s everything from renewal rate and response rate to the reactivation rate and cost to acquire a donor. You’ll also find more information on acquisition sources.

The team and I have even included some new benchmarks this year. We’ve added response rates and average gift information for organizations that include revenue from other channels (like digital) in their direct mail reporting.

We dug deep to answer some of your biggest questions from the 2022 year in direct mail. Our analysis is geared towards helping strengthen your next year in direct mail fundraising. You can find the full report here.