With the latest presidential election right around the corner, it is the season for political parties to seek out donations from new and current affiliates. While email is a popular form of contact – with smartphones and tablets keeping it readily available – a recent study found that individuals are three times more likely to donate when contacted through direct mail.

Researchers at the Campbell Company, on behalf of Dunham+Company, found that 17 percent of those surveyed would respond to direct mail, whereas just 5 percent made a donation from being contacted through an email, according to a press release.

Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham+Company, said that while some might find the results a “bit of a shock,” the explanation could be rather simple. He said that individuals are just more likely to respond to something physical, over an electronic note that can be deleted with one click of the mouse.

With this information, companies and organizations seeking either donations or responses from customers should ensure that the received product is in the best physical condition. Quality lamination equipment will protect any postcards or pamphlets against the elements, guaranteeing that when an individual opens the mailbox, the item is fully legible.

In addition, the Blackbaud “2011 DonorCentrics Internet and Multi-Channel Giving Benchmarking Report,” said that while direct mail is more expensive that notifications sent through email, the method is also more profitable. According to the report, the typical U.S. charity receives 75 percent of its funding through the mail, while online giving accounts for 10 percent.

Sending items through the mail offers a personal touch that often gets lost in cyberspace. Businesses need to ensure that when they take the time to reach out to customers, the product that they are presenting is as professional as possible. Paper folding machines are a good option to quickly create uniform and put-together brochures that can be sent out to a mass audience.