Move #6 in a series of “9 Best Moves” to achieve development goals and maximize fundraising success.
For more than a decade, pundits have been sounding the death knell for direct mail. Granted, its effectiveness has eroded in recent years. Yet it remains the strongest direct response medium available today. With continually rising postal and paper costs, “snail mail” must be used much more judiciously in order to produce an acceptable return on investment. It remains a key channel, but only one channel in an evolving array of communication tools needed for success in today’s marketplace. Ministries willing to test into evolving technologies will lead the way to more effective communication with the constituencies.
Look to the future through “digital mailbox.”
Doom and gloom surrounds the United States Postal Service at almost every turn lately. Yet, one under-reported item recently caught my eye. At the recent “Postal Vision 2020” conference in Washington D.C., the USPS brought together its senior personnel, technologists, analysts, and journalists to openly discuss the future strategic direction of the postal service. They explored the question: “What should the U.S. Postal Service look like in the year 2020?”
Amazingly, there seems to be a heightened level of innovation both within the postal service and externally focused on evolving methods to deliver the mail. And, more than talk and theory, they were engaged in laying down the building blocks of what could potentially be the future of mail distribution and delivery here in the U.S. as well as worldwide. And they landed on digital mailboxes.
Recognize evolving technology as expanding opportunity.
While the concept of a digital mailbox is not new, there is an increased urgency and cooperation toward the aggressive development of digital mailbox services designed to reach every household in America, just like the current USPS, only better.
- Accenture, a worldwide consulting and outsourcing firm, is partnering directly with national postal services around the world to help them develop digital mailbox services.
- Doxo, a technology start-up (short on initial caps), is focused on enabling users to import all kinds of documents, on top of electronic bills and statements, and upload or scan everything via its mobile phone application.
- Manilla, launched by Hearst Corporation, opens up access to over 1,000 companies, enabling users to consolidate and manage bills and loyalty programs.
- Pitney Bowes began offering its Volly digital mailbox in 2011 in a beta format. Their announcement describes their product as follows: “Think of Volly as an extension of a conventional consumer bill consolidation model, incorporating other types of mail into the same platform.”
- Zumbox, another technology start-up, uses your physical mail address as your digital mailbox address to centralize the management of all mail being sent to a household.
With the rapid pace of technology proliferation and adoption these days in mail services, I’m excited to stay on top of developments as new opportunities take shape. Obviously these innovations could have a major impact on how mail is delivered, accepted and managed.
Nonprofits need to be on the front end of this evolving revolution in mail. That’s one of my major goals for our clients at Masterworks.
Check back next week to learn about Best Move #7: Toss out the old playbook. Or enter your email address above to get updates delivered directly to your inbox.