Donor Choices and Integrated Campaigns

in Integrated Multichannel Fundraising & Marketing,Monthly Giving

Ever had to rake up the leaves in your yard?  If so, have you noticed how the task goes much faster with far less effort when you’re not working alone?

This holds true for integrated fundraising, membership drives, and other marketing campaigns.  No one channel is as productive or effective as 2, 3, or more channels working together.

And this also ties in with donor (or member) choices.  Some people prefer to respond by mail yet read your emails and visit your website.  Others will read your direct mail letter and then go online to respond.  Still others sometimes respond to mail and sometimes to email.

The vast majority of donors and members regularly use and respond to multiple channels.  The article below gives you valuable insight on this donor behavior:

On Sept 7 I published a post with highlights from the “Heart of the Donor” study, “How and Why Donors of All Ages Give to Charity.”  The study shows that NO CHANNEL stands aloneOn average, donors use 3 out of 10 channels.  In the post there’s a list of the most popular channels which you ought to review.

Other choices donors seek are payment methods. Few examples include . . .

– credit card
– debit card
– monthly, quarterly or other frequency choice for your sustainer giving program

Direct Mail
– send in a check
– pay by credit card using form on reply device
– go online to donate; ideally provide them a simple, unique URL for tracking

Integrated fundraising
doesn’t have to be complicated

The combination of email and direct mail is an example of a basic integrated campaign.  They compliment each other nicely.  And the data from the “Heart of the Donor” study shows why this combo is so effective.

Here’s another study I reported on that is also extremely relevant to our topic today: “More Boomers and Seniors in the Online Groove,” (Aug 31st post with data by Pew Research).  This study shows how Boomers and Seniors are actively online.

The statistics show that you can reach a LARGE segment of seniors (and even more Boomers) via email. Another reason to integrate direct mail and email.  And as it states in my post, Boomers are the “young donors” most charities ought to be targeting NOW.  Learn how to reach them.

I’ll wrap up with two quick examples of nonprofits using this integrated approach to their fundraising:

1 – A foundation I work with is sending out their annual appeal letter.  Their reply device gives the donor the choice of check, credit card, or instructions on how to donate online.  Plus they have valid email addresses for about 58% of their file.  So they will send this group a reminder via email: “Still time to give . . . year-end tax-deductible gift . . . etc.”

An example of a very simple yet effective integrated campaign.  And by leveraging two channels they’ll enjoy a boost in their overall response by sending the email reminder. It’s a comparatively easy integration technique and low cost too.  It’s well worth their effort.

2 – A university I’m working with has a 3-email series to raise donations.  And they’re also testing a direct mail letter to a segment of their file.  The letter gives donors the choice of donating online via a unique URL and landing page, or to drop a check in the enclosed return envelope.  Again, the combination of email and direct mail supporting each other and reinforcing the message.

You’ll leave money on the table if you don’t integrate your campaigns and also give choices on payment methods.  It doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.  But stretch your budget and use as many channels as possible for even better results. You’ll work harder for fewer dollars raised unless you integrate and use multiple channels.

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