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Millennials: The New Direct Mail Aficionados


Scrolling through most marketing magazines and websites, the majority of what you’ll find bounces between social media, mobile platforms, content marketing, AdWords, and other methods deemed much cooler and more cutting edge than direct mail. Since we’re all addicted to our smart phones and tethered to our computers most of the day, focusing on digital seems to make the most sense—on the surface.

But despite our obsessions with the amazing technological advancements at our fingertips, direct mail is still extremely effective, especially among Millennials.

When you think of Millennials, you likely think of selfies, Snapchat, and throngs of young adults with their heads bent over tiny screens 24/7. Surprisingly, Millennials are among the biggest supporters of mail—they like to receive it, they trust it, and they are more likely to not only remember it, but also take action.

  • Millennials enjoy receiving direct mail. For many Millennials, receiving mail is close to a being a novelty. People just aren’t sending personal letters or event invitations through the mail like they used to, not to mention fewer shopping catalogs, magazines, and bills make it into mailboxes. With so many traditionally printed items moving online, it is important to know that 87% of Millennials reported that they actually enjoy receiving direct mail.
  • Millennials trust direct mail. We’ve all heard about the Nigerian prince who needs a loan and promises to reward you handsomely once he returns to his kingdom. Or how about the notifications that you won the lottery from a foreign country. Mystery Shopper Scam, anyone? It’s impossible to keep up with all of the scams infiltrating email inboxes—and it makes it so much harder for reputable organizations to gain trust online. So what does this mean to Millennials? Of those surveyed, 90% said that they think direct mail is reliable and more trustworthy than online ads and emails.
  • Millennials remember direct mail. When it comes to getting noticed, the more senses you can invigorate, the better. Direct mail engages touch, smell, sound, and sight—all of our senses except taste (although I’m sure this has been attempted). On the other hand, the most widely available and common digital technologies are limited by a flat screen that can only be viewed and heard. Because print hits most of our senses, it creates a longer lasting impact and makes a deeper impression. In fact, Millennials’ recall was 70% higher when exposed to direct mail versus a digital ad.

So what are your takeaways?

If you’re serious about inspiring Millennials to make a donation or join your cause, a multichannel approach that taps into their fascination with direct mail and leads them to online registration and donation portals is necessary. Here are two ways that we successfully encourage Millennial participation:

  1. Use PURLs, or personalized URL. Including a Personalized URL (PURL) on a direct mail piece is an excellent way to drive donors to make a donation online. By using a PURL that leads to a donation page or registration form instead of your homepage, donors are much more likely to focus, maintain interest, and ultimately take action. As we all know, the fewer distractions the better!
  2. Create an echo. One of the most effective applications of an integrated multichannel campaign is creating an echo between direct mail, email, and digital advertising. By having the same or very similar messaging and creative popping up in a donor’s mailbox, email inbox, and websites they are likely to visit, your message is sure to be remembered and inspire action.

Looking for more information? 

For more information about how to include Millennials in your fundraising strategy, contact us at

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