AFP News

Postal Delays: How to Reach Your Donors and Keep Your Fundraising Going

postal box

A series of rotating strikes by Canada Post workers that started in October and still continues has already delayed regular mail across the nation by close to 30 days. Continuing rotating strikes, or even a complete strike, will cripple mail delivery during the critical end-of-year giving season over the holidays and into the New Year.

What can charities do to remind those donors waiting on their direct mail appeals that they can and should still give in other ways? AFP asked some members for their advice.

“For those organizations who rely on mail for their year-end appeals, it’s very likely that by now all the mail will be prepared and ready to go,” said Paula Attfield, president of Stephen Thomas, Ltd., in Toronto, Ont. “Holding it at this point would only ensure that there will be a financial loss. Given that the rotating strikes, while disruptive, are not a complete shutdown, we feel it is better to mail.”

 “We have been including buck slips in out outbound mail directing people to our web site,” said Bronwen Dearlove, CFRE, senior development officer, annual fund and database, at National Arts Centre Foundation in Ottawa, Ont. “Our direct mail program is small enough that we can phone the key people if need be.”

Rachael Wilson, director of communications and development for the Ottawa Food Bank, agrees. “We too are directing people to call, go online or drop by. We have a blog post up and have shared through social. Next step is to go to our media partners to get the story out there.” The blog post talks specifically about how the rotating strikes are affecting the food bank and how donors and supporters can give in different ways than through the mail.

Kelly LaChance, fundraising strategist with Blakely, Inc., in Aurora, Ont., list a few more options for charities as well:

  • Sending e-blasts, to let donors know other options to give
  • Making the home page of the your website prominently addresses the postal delays.
  • Using a voice mail broadcast, possibly with an option to connect directly to a live person to make a donation right away.

The last quarter of the year, and especially the last month, is an important time for giving to charities. Past surveys from AFP have shown that many charities receive at least half of their total annual giving during the last three months of the year, with December being the most critical month.

“Direct mail continues to be the leading way that most donors give to charity. So, a postal delay or interruption seriously damages a charity’s ability to provide the critically needed services to the community. We are hopeful that both sides at Canada Post can come together and reach a fair agreement soon, said Scott Decksheimer, CFRE, chair of the AFP Canada Board of Directors.

Have additional ideas on how to continue raise funds and inspire donors during this time? Email paffairs@afpglobal.org with your guidance and tips.

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