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For business and social purposes, direct mail boosts awareness

Rachel Wheeler Archive
When businesses are considering how to get people to care about a specific social issue, the tree-falling-in-the-forest analogy comes to mind. If an organization or individual is fighting for a social cause, but no one knows about it, will the advocacy create change?

The answer is: most likely not. But with the help of direct mail, a group may be able to spread the word about an issue and mobilize more people to fight for it, according to Deliver magazine. The source points to Smile Train, which works to fund surgeries and other aid for children born with cleft palates and lips, and which was able to get its start with a direct mail campaign distributed among 50,000 people. In 2013, more than a decade after it was founded, Smile Train's total fundraising will hit more than $1 billion, the magazine reports.

The fact that there is a threshold - that mail requires a name, a stamp and usually an envelope - plays into the power of mail," Brian Mullaney, co-founder of Smile Train, told Deliver. "Communication vehicles that are essentially free lack the filtering, which make them not functional yet for effective commerce."

Whatever method an organization chooses to raise awareness, be it email, direct mail, advertising or a combination of all three, contact data quality and a targeting strategy will be of the utmost importance.