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Charities increasing their spend on Direct Mail

Charities seem to agree that their fundraising budgets are best spent on direct mail and television – and that digital holds less attraction for them than for many advertisers.

According to reports issued towards the end of last year, UK charities spent £349m on Advertising in 2014 – with 61% of the total going on direct mail.

The research (by nfpSynergy) involved analysing charities advertising spend over the past eight years.

The results showed:

  • Last year, UK charities spent the second highest amount in the last eight years on advertising: a total of £394.4m, which was just under the £400m spent in 2011.
  • It also found that the majority of charities spend most of their advertising budgets on direct mail: In 2013, they spent £238.9m; an average of 69% of their total spend since 2006.

The report also highlighted the interesting fact that UK charities spend just 2% of their advertising budgets on internet ads.

This is a percentage that has only risen by 1% since 2006. Whereas in the rest of the advertising industry, spend on internet advertising has continued to increase since 2010. In 2013 internet advertising was worth 46% (£14 billion) increasing by 29% since 2006.

Over the years, charities have regularly turned to direct mail as a cost-effective route to market.

However, charities must be careful when creating direct mail shots to ensure that their data is up-to-date. In 2014, it was also reported that direct mail is the most complained about charity tactic.

The report also notes that charities are continuing to increase their spend on television advertising by 20% – spending £77.1m in 2013. Clearly, this suggests that the sector is not frugal with their advertising budgets and instead find that television and direct mail advertising in particular offer best return on investment.

The full report is available from