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Why Do You Send So Much Mail?
January 31, 2013
This article is part of the Winter 2013 issue of the MSF Alert newsletter.
Pakistan 2012 © Sam Phelps/MSF
Melanie West is MSF-USA’s Director of Marketing.
MSF’s direct mail program is designed to provide reports to our donors about the medical work we carry out in the field and to raise money for that important work. This year we sent out 12 direct mail campaigns informing our donors about our field missions. Topics included South Sudan, maternal health, nutrition, security in the field, and responding to outbreaks.
Each month, we send our mailings to donors who have not yet joined our Field Partners program in which supporters give a set monthly gift. We also send mailings several times a year to prospective donors, asking them to become supporters. If anyone contacts us asking to receive less mail, or just mail on a particular topic, we honor their requests.
At present, most of our donors are more comfortable writing and mailing checks than making online donations. MSF’s direct mail program raises $62 million per year; by comparison, our email program generates $1.6 million. So while we use email campaigns as much as possible, we can’t risk sacrificing income that we need to fund our medical programs.
That said, our direct mail program is constantly evolving towards less mail. For instance, we encourage people to become Field Partners, as I said, and we’re investing more heavily in alternative ways to give. But it’s a gradual transition. We know we need to communicate with our donors on a regular basis to provide channels through which they can give if they so choose; we often don’t know if a person is in a position to make a donation at a given moment, or which aspect of our work might touch and inspire them. And, of course, our overall mission is to serve our patients, and our mail program helps guarantee a steady stream of funds so we can do that.
Tags: How MSF Works