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January 14, 2019

9 Tips to Make Multichannel Fundraising Work for You

Successful multichannel fundraising includes a mix of direct mail, email, social media, paid and organic search, and peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising initiatives. It also often extends to telephone, DRTV, and radio. But to truly make multichannel marketing work for your charity, you need to balance new and old media tactics, create integrated messages across channels, and figure out how to track Return on Investment (ROI) to determine which channels are helping you reach your fundraising goals. 

Whether your organization is just getting started in multichannel fundraising or you’ve been talking with your donors through multiple channels for years, here are a few tips to maximize this strategy.


9 Tips for Multichannel Integration Success

  1. Make it easy for donors to cross channels.
    The most common cross-channel activity happens when donors receive a mail appeal, then respond online. So make sure your website has language and graphics that match your mail piece. If your donors think they’ve reached the wrong website, you could lose those gifts. Check out these 3 Reasons Your Donors Jump Between Fundraising Channels.
  2. Take a single view of your donors.
    A Single Customer View (SCV) provides organizations with the ability to track donor activity and their communications across every channel. This is important because it provides insight into how interactions and behaviors drive future engagement.
  3. Look at long-term value.
    First, by donor group. You need to know the value of donor groups giving online-only, offline-only, and both online and offline. This reveals what single and multichannel donors are worth. Second, by individual channel. Donors acquired by mail, for example, may give a higher gift, but lapse sooner than non-mail donors. Knowing long-term value by channel will help you allocate your media budget. Remember, Long-Term Value Is a Fundraiser’s Most Important Metric.
  4. Ease your burden with a marketing automation platform.
    Marketing automation is based on software platforms and technologies designed to more effectively market in multiple channels (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and as a way to automate repetitive tasks.
  5. Watch for an online surge after a direct-mail drop.
    If revenue jumps a few weeks after your mail appeal drops, you can see how mail is spurring online gifts. You’ll have a clearer picture of the real value of your direct-mail campaigns.
  6. Run a match-back analysis.
    After a direct-mail campaign, do a match-back analysis to determine which donors on your direct-mail prospect list chose other channels, such as white mail, online, or events. This reveals how direct mail encourages donors to give through other channels.
  7. Track overall giving.
    Since donors are going beyond the reply device, it’s important to look at total giving from all channels. Use a control panel of donors that receive multichannel treatment compared with a group that does not. This shows giving in each channel, as well as the true impact of the test treatment.
  8. But don’t try to “solve” for multichannel attribution.
    Even ahead-of-the-curve fundraisers who are trying to adopt effective multichannel analytics and reporting best practices (like  points 5 – 7 above) are often discouraged by how difficult it is to “solve” for multichannel attribution. This leaves many fundraisers feeling downright overwhelmed, questioning the ROI for a variety of their multichannel initiatives with no clear answers in sight.

    Senior Vice President of Strategy and Analytics, Stephen Ferrando, tackles this issue in his popular post, The 5 Stages of Grief in Multichannel Fundraising Reporting.
  9. Create a consistent experience.
    One of the cardinal sins of nonprofit fundraising is looking inward too often. Remember: It’s all about your donor. She is constantly evaluating all touchpoints from you to help build her experience.

    Your message and tone should be consistent across all channels. You can (and should!) keep your creative consistent by developing an adlob at the start of the campaign. An adlob is an ad-like object that answers the question: What’s the big idea? It is also sometimes referred to as a mood board.

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