Why write a mild rant about a nonprofit I love and admire, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)???
Because it provides a learning opportunity for nonprofit associations across the US and globally.
I love direct mail for marketing and for fundraising, after all, in my main job, running Didit, we have an entire direct mail division servicing for-profit and non-profit clients. I even invented some really cool direct mail technology called Inceptor that dramatically improves response rates for nonprofits with fundraising teams and for-profits with sales teams.
But renewals and renewal communications for industry trade associations aren’t fundraising. At least that’s my opinion.
My banks have been paperless for a log time as have nearly all my regular paid memberships. So, when I received the renewal invoice from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)…
As an advocate of efficiency alone, I was dismayed. I might have gotten an email to renew a month ago, but can’t seem to find it. Plus, this renewal notice seems quite early.
I paid it, online, immediately… as I love the AFP.
However, it’s because I love the AFP that I feel compelled to list the 5-reasons that the AFP should provide the paperless option as the primary… and NOT direct mail me unless I fail to renew online.
- Eighty One Cents postage and probably $1.30-$1.40 all-in cost given the color printing… times 31,000 members (international is probably higher postage) Let’s round that to $40K in postage.
- First class postage?? That seems odd. Didit is in the direct mail biz and often there are postage options, even if the nonprofit isn’t a 501c3.
- Time/HR costs and agency costs to produce the direct mail piece
- Four sheets of paper and an envelope during a paper shortage. (I know… some of those were cross/up-sell)
- Carbon footprint for the paper manufacture and transportation and the mail delivery
At the very least, I’m optimistic that the AFP starts asking folks to go paperless, OR only uses paper when memberships are in jeopardy of lapsing. And yes I’ll let them know that’s my preference. If it’s your preference too, please ask for it.
Perhaps next year.