Lindsay Sparks  ●  6/15/2018

Multichannel Fundraising for the Win

Senior Couple Direct Mail Digital Online

It’s budget season for The Salvation Army.  My team and I have been crisscrossing the country to talk with our clients about strategy, donor health, and of course, revenue.  Of the many topics discussed over these weeks, one fundraising topic came up in all my meetings: the effectiveness of a multichannel approach when communicating with donors.

Multichannel fundraising is a campaign that, you guessed it, uses at least three channels as part of the medium mix.  All the channels will share a similar ask, story, or timeline, but the messaging should be appropriate to that channel.  For instance, you might use long-form copy to tell a story in a direct mail piece, but use a series of images on social media to tell the same story in a different way.

Why does it work?  Because your donors use multiple channels, and they don’t always respond to you on the same channel with each interaction.  Therefore, you add your email list to your mailing list, cross-check your mailing list for phone numbers, and then carefully plan an annual strategy that uses the strengths of each channel to communicate effectively with your donors.

Here’s a real-life example: Last year, I got an acquisition mailing from a local charity that was worthy of my support.  I responded and mailed in one or two gifts as a first-year donor.  This spring, I was invited to participate in their sustainer program, via a print appeal in my mailbox.  I read it, set it aside in that pile of “deal with later” mail, and moved on.  Shortly afterwards, I received an email with the same story as the mail appeal about the importance of sustaining support.  It was an opportune moment.  My wallet was beside me, and I knew I had that appeal in my “deal with later” pile, so I clicked.  I instantly went from a mail donor to a digital donor in a flash.  I didn’t actually make a choice to switch channels — the charity gave me the opportunity, and I acted in a way that was easy for me.  Your donors will do the same! 

If you aren’t strategically optimizing your fundraising channels, look for ways to provide your supporters with a giving opportunity in the channel that suits them best.  And don’t assume that the channel of the donor’s original gift is their channel of preference.  You might be missing out.  My “deal with later” pile, including that sustaining direct mail appeal, hasn’t been touched in a while.  And yet, I’ve made three monthly sustaining gifts without a thought!

Ready to learn more about multichannel fundraising?  The experts at TrueSense Marketing recently sat down to discuss strategies and tactics for multichannel fundraising.


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