As part of a healthy marketing mix, advertising, through mediums like newspaper and shared mail media can support a nonprofit‘s growth targets. But, if done poorly, these channels can be expensive while driving no results. If you want to see an impact from newspaper advertising and shared mail, your approach needs to be strategic and targeted.

With the use of advanced analytics, nonprofits can become more efficient, effective and targeted in their fundraising efforts. In this article we look at the state of newspaper advertising and shared media for nonprofits, and how one nonprofit increased their member acquisition rate by 90% using these mediums supported by advanced analytics.

The State of Print Advertising

A few years ago, as digital marketing became the norm, there were cries that print advertising was a dying marketing tactic. And yet, here we are in 2022, and research shows that it is not even close to dead. In fact, according to an October 2016 survey by MarketingSherpa, 82 percent of U.S. internet users trust print ads when making a purchase decision, more than any other medium. Studies show that people process print content with more attention, they have a deeper emotional response, and they recall details more clearly than they do when viewed on a screen.

The State of Newspaper Advertising

Newspaper advertising can include both digital and print ads in reputable local and national news agencies. In a digital format, these can be banner ads, pop-ups, and other digital placement throughout a website or article. Newspapers in print offer advertising in pages as well in the form of insert cards and booklets that stand out from the paper and grab the reader’s attention.

Newspaper readers are deeply loyal, in both digital and print formats. Nearly half the U.S. population reads newspaper media each week—60% of young adults 18-34 and 70% of adults over 351. Digital news and ads tend to reach a younger demographic while print leans towards an older demographic. Newspapers and their integrated products reach an educated and affluent audience—74% of households with income above $100K are newspaper readers.

With newspaper loyalty comes trust and action in the advertising presented to readers. Nine out of ten newspaper readers (91%) report that they take action after reading or looking at advertising inserts.

The Benefit of Newspaper Advertising for Nonprofits

  • Build Trust – Nonprofits can build trust in their cause by tapping into the loyalty and positive sentiment that exists in the particular newspaper.
  • Connect With Your Audience – As mentioned above, Nine out of ten newspapers readers are highly likely to take action on advertising. This makes it a great way for nonprofits to connect with new donors.
  • Target by Geography – The use of local newspapers can allow nonprofits to specifically target locations to match prospective donor locations.
  • Run Timely Advertising – Nonprofits can use the time sensitivity of newspapers to advertise on a flexible schedule that works for their campaigns. Newspaper advertising also allows nonprofits to manage the frequency of ad reach depending on the circulation of the newspaper.

Newspaper Advertising Costs

Newspaper advertising costs range based upon circulation size. Below are estimated prices for Sunday advertising in black and white. The cost to advertise in color varies greatly between newspapers, but you can expect to pay up to 50% more for a full-color ad2. Rates per ad can vary based on size, location, color, and circulation of the paper, giving nonprofits a variety of options depending on budget.newspaper advertising costs

The State of Shared Mail Media

Shared mail, a form of direct mail, is a print media program that allows retail store owners to package their promotional efforts with other top advertisers in their areas in a package aimed directly at targeted customers—delivered straight to the mailbox. Advertising placement within shared mail can be on the mail wrapper, flyers, inserts, and postcards. While shared mail is a substantial investment in time and resources if done strategically it has the opportunity to drive substantial return on investment.

The Direct Marketing Association found that direct mail achieves a 4.4% response rate compared to 0.12% for email. In 2017 the DMA reported the highest response rates to direct mail since 2003 with 5.3% response rate to house lists and 2.9% to prospect lists. Shared mail has the potential to reach a broad range of ages. Gallup reported that 36% of young people under 30 look forward to checking their mailbox daily and 87% like receiving direct mail.

The Benefits of Shared Mail Media for Nonprofits

  • Expanded Reach – Shared mail media has the capacity to reach every household in a specific geographic location. No other media reaches every house better.
  • More Personalization – Messages can be personalized by household based on lifestyle, demographic, and economic data.
  • Reduced Costs – By sharing the cost of the mailing, the cost of such targeted advertising is greatly reduced.

Shared Mail Media Costs

Shared mail media can cost anywhere from 10 cents to $10 per person. Costs involved in shared media include design, copy, mailing lists, printing, and distribution.

Using Advanced Analytics for Newspaper and Shared Media Advertising

For nonprofits using newspaper and shared media advertising in a strategic and targeted way, provides the opportunity to cut through the noise and connect in a trusted way with donors. The use of advanced analytics to optimize media can allow nonprofits to strategically use these channels.

For example, recently a nationwide nonprofit asked us to help them create a better analytic solution for improving the efficiency and optimization of their new member recruitment program in newspaper inserts and shared mail advertisements. We created predictive models of expected zip code and zone-level response rates. All potential delivery zones in the client’s print media network were scored by each campaign since dynamic factors such as cadence and past performance is always changing. In order to optimize buying decisions we identified placement zones with the best return for budget and objectives while allowing for business constraints such as organizational diversity objectives, budget allocation across sub-channels, and newspaper minimum inserts requirements.

The results our client saw were tremendous. They realized a 90% improvement in acquisition rates and reduced cost per acquisition. Additionally, the model was used to sort or rank order recipients and the top performed 5 times that of the bottom. Lastly, the modeling and optimization acquisition processes are now automated and integrated, so they can be reused in the future to see similar results.

If you’re interested in or currently investing in newspaper and shared media, it’s worth looking into how advanced analytics could support your campaigns and improve your outcomes. Read a recent case study to see the potential impact of an optimized media approach.