Are Paper Invitations Still Relevant?

Printed Invitation and Save-the-Date Cards

Paper invitations and save-the-date cards provide a level of personal connection, yet are they still relevant in this digital age?

With all the technology available today, you’ve got a range of options for announcing your upcoming fundraiser. Email is cost effective, it’s proven and it works. Direct mail (snail mail) is also proven and it works. But is it worth the cost? Like many things in life… it depends. Here are some things to consider if you are wondering whether to send out paper invitations to your next event.

  • Your Audience: Who are your donors and what form of communication do they prefer? Many older donors prefer paper. They can carry the invitation around with them and use it to talk up your event with their friends. On the other hand, as tech-savvy professionals start to retire, we’ll be seeing more and more older donors who are quite comfortable with email and text. They may find it easier to use these tools to spread the news. Ask your donors and key people what they prefer and why.
  • Type of Event: Are you putting on a formal event? Or an exclusive dinner with a limited guest list? A formal paper invitation will give the event more importance and weight, lending a touch of elegance to the whole affair. On the other hand, if you are bowling for dollars, a paper invitation is probably not as critical.
  • Your Cause: Does your mission have something to do with preserving the environment? You may want to exercise restraint in the number of paper mailings you send out. Perhaps just sending paper invitations to a few key people will be sufficient.
  • Online Activity: How active is your audience online? Are they engaging with your social media channels? Opening your email newsletters? Commenting on your blog? If their activity is high, a paper invitation may not be necessary.
  • First Time Event: If this is the first time you’re holding the event (or if you need to increase attendance for an existing event), it might be worth the extra cost of sending out paper invitations to spread the word more broadly.

Email and paper invitations are both good approaches. They both work and are proven to elicit a response. To decide whether to send out paper invites, ask yourself what will best help you accomplish your goals. Knowing your audience, knowing your event and knowing your cause, you’ll be able to determine the best approach.

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