In December 2013, Canada Post announced the price increase of stamps and some mailing services in 2014. Many non-profit and charitable organizations worry that the price increase will cost them more in fundraising and bring lower donation revenue.
These organizations are heavy users of the postal service for soliciting donations and sending income tax receipts to the donors. In Statistics Canada’s study in 2010, charitable organizations brought in 14% of their donations through letter-mail effort. In some organizations the percentage is much higher.
A 2012 Ipsos Reid survey of Canadians about charities in the previous 12 months found that letter mail is the preferred approach for being asked for donations (45 per cent), while receiving an email is the preferred method for about one in six (17 per cent). (http://afp.peachnewmedia.com/store/streaming/seminar-launch.php?key=BtIg%2BsXP%2FZ3opZTkR8OYG8YRPUTZLR30ssV7Vi9ETII%3D)
Many non-profit and charitable organizations have turned to social media to supplement their fundraising effort, such as Facebook and Twitters. As the postal cost of fundraising increases, I believe many other organizations will adopt this measure. Another point to note is that the use of social media should be expanded in order to increase charitable donations and recruit volunteers.
The Isos Reid survey also indicated that more older people than younger ones have been contacted before making donations (age 55+:87%, 35-54: 68%, 18-34: 53%); and more in the older group than the younger ones have donated (age 55+: 87%, 35-54: 68%, 18-34: 53%). This brings to our attention that the non-profit and charitable organizations should tap into the large pool of young, potential donors and volunteers. Even though they are not usually the key target donors, the earlier they are drawn into the interest of those organizations and become engaged, the more likely they will be involved in the charitable cause and donate their money or time in the future. As the younger population uses more social media than the older people do, those organizations should put more effort in fundraising and recruiting via various social channels, not just the well-established, older ones like Facebook and Twitter, but also those that have become popular among the younger network users. As Brock Smith wrote in “it’s time to Tumble into the newest social media phenomenon”, (https://charityvillage.com/Content.aspx?topic=It_s_time_to_Tumble_into_the_newest_social_media_phenomenon&last=531), the organizations can leverage Tumblir and other newer social platforms to draw the users to their main web sites with a link.
Social media can also motivate an engaged community to self-organize projects for charitable organizations because it is low-cost, interactive and fast. For example, Twestival (http://www.twestival.com/our_story) can help in raising fund for the charities they support.
With more resources spent on social media, non-profit and charitable organizations can reach out to more people in an interactive, faster way with a higher return on investment. So to look at the impact of the postage increase from another angle, isn’t it a positive one?