Last week I attended the Bridge Conference in Washington D.C. (co-hosted by the DC chapters of AFP and DMA).  The basic message was loud and clear:

Fundraising demands multiple channels

In other words, a mix of online and offline channels is essential to maximize your nonprofit’s fundraising results.

This holds true regardless of the age of your audience (i.e., donors, members, prospects, advocates, volunteers, etc.).  And no matter how a donor made their first gift, when you reach out to them online AND offline . . .

• response increases
• more funds are raised
• donor life-time value goes up
• retention is improved

Good reasons to integrate.  Yup; an integrated, multi-channel approach to fundraising and ALL your communications is fundamental.  And I do view integration as fundamental.

The “core” channels touted by numerous presenters throughout the conference are your website, direct mail, email, and the phone (including mobile). 

Certainly there are more online and offline channels.  Just focus on these first for the biggest bang for your buck.  Then add in other tactics and channels as your staff and budget allow.

Whatever you do, remember that a “fundamental integrated fundraising plan” won’t work unless you also incorporate the “fundamentals of good marketing.”  This means that whatever tools, bells and whistles you use . . .

• make each message and web page relevant to the reader
• give readers information THEY value
• make your call-to-action crystal clear and repeat it
• write donor-centric messages and web pages
• don’t get verbose and complicated
• use a friendly, warm, and conversational style
• think about what THEY – your supporters – want and need to know

Stick to the fundamentals for better fundraising.