New Survey Reveals Nonprofits’ Perspectives on Outsourced Donation Processing

HAGERSTOWN, Md.--()--Merkle Response Management Group (Merkle RMG), a subsidiary of Merkle, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, today unveiled results of a survey on nonprofit direct mail donation processing. The survey, conducted by Market Connections, revealed that outsourcing this non-core function supports improved efficiency, security and performance, and allows greater focus on activities critical to accomplishing nonprofit missions. As a result, nonprofits are also better able to serve the donors that are essential to their success.

“Nonprofits have a broad range of responsibilities – all necessary to support the objectives of each organization. Yet tactical, albeit important, aspects of donation processing often require too much of nonprofit managers’ time. Outsourcing these essential efforts can improve donation processing speeds and security and elevate donor care, while also freeing nonprofit staff to focus on their mission,” said Bill Sayre, president of Merkle RMG. “With extensive and focused experience managing donation processing, the right outsource partner can quickly and efficiently respond to and support donor and nonprofit staff needs.”

Key Findings:

Outsourcing Enables Greater Focus on Nonprofit Missions and Improves Efficiencies

Nonprofit organizations seek to dedicate as many of their resources as possible on activities that most directly impact the mission. Outsourcing donation processing allows nonprofits to strategically allocate limited resources more efficiently and effectively. The survey found that 63 percent of respondents feel outsourcing frees staff to focus on core mission objectives. Sixty-one percent said that it reduces processing costs and improves overall efficiency.

Outsourcing Donation Processing Can Improve Security, Accuracy and Speed

The survey found that outsourcing improves a nonprofit’s ability to meet security standards. Nearly a quarter of organizations processing donations in-house said meeting PCI compliance standards, essential for safe credit card processing, was challenging. This is compared to just 12 percent of those outsourcing the function. Similarly, the ability to process responses consistently according to established business rules and quickly acknowledge donor gifts was more frequently cited as a challenge for those processing donations in house.

Nonprofits Consider Speed and Security Important Characteristics of Outsource Partners

When choosing to outsource donation processing, security and speed were the most highly ranked attributes. The ability to quickly acknowledge donor gifts with personalized letters was the top ranked attribute of outsource partners, with 87 percent of respondents noting it as important. Securely handling funds and securing nonprofit data were the next most frequently referenced attributes at 85 and 84 percent respectively. Even smaller programs that face greater obstacles when it comes to speed and security can address these challenges by outsourcing donation processing capabilities. Lowest cost was among one of the least important elements for respondents, with just 55 percent noting price as a key attribute.

To read the full survey report, please click here.

About the survey:

Merkle Response Management Group commissioned Market Connections, Inc. to conduct a blind online survey to determine what methods non-profit organizations use to manage direct mail response, and whether they are satisfied with the accuracy, timeliness and security of their data processing methods. Of the 157 non-profit organizations that responded, all use direct mail as a method of fundraising.

About Merkle Response Management Group

Founded in 1983, Merkle’s Response Management Group is dedicated to providing complete response processing and fulfillment solutions, including lockbox/caging, scanning, data entry, imaging, inbound call center, email management, acknowledgment printing and mailing, and premium/product fulfillment services. RMG serves more than 200 clients in the nonprofit, government, healthcare, and retail markets. For more information about Merkle RMG, please visit, or follow us on Twitter @MerkleRMG.

About Merkle

Merkle is a global data-driven, technology-enabled performance marketing agency. For more than 25 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle, the nation’s largest privately held agency, to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The agency’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights. When combined with its strength in performance media, Merkle creates customer experiences that drive improved marketing performance and shareholder value. With more than 2,700 employees, the privately held corporation is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland with 14 additional offices in the US and offices in London, Shanghai, and Nanjing. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit

About Market Connections, Inc.

Market Connections delivers actionable intelligence and insights that enable improved business performance and positioning for leading businesses, trade associations and the public sector. The custom market research firm is a sought-after authority on preferences, perceptions and trends between the public sector and the contractors who serve them, offering deep domain expertise in information technology and telecommunications, health care and education. For more information visit

Supporting Resources:

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Sage Communications (for Merkle RMG)
Media Contact:
Sara Lanphere, 703-584-5648


Sage Communications (for Merkle RMG)
Media Contact:
Sara Lanphere, 703-584-5648