Remember the old days, before Al Gore invented the Internet? Direct mail was king in the direct-response fundraising world. Then came the Web and the predictions that it would dominate all other media, making books, magazines and newspapers obsolete. And, oh yes, direct mail was on its way out.
Well, kids, here we are in 2007 and I still get The Boston Globe daily, still keep putting new books in the bookcase — and still toil over my direct-mail strategy and creative every day. So nothing’s changed, right? Not quite.
The introduction of new media and technologies has had a significant impact on how we do business. And instead of being the replacement for direct mail, the Internet is becoming a powerful partner in many direct-response fundraising programs.
The following offers a few ideas for your program — some relatively new, some tried and true, but all valuable in today’s fundraising world and, I hope, relevant to you.
Give your donors a choice on how to give
Web/mail integration is a great way to give donors more choices. Instead of thinking in terms of converting direct-mail donors to Web donors, or vice versa, let the donor decide how he or she wants to give.
One way to do this is to add an online giving option to your direct-mail letters and reply slips. Tell donors that they can give via the Web by going to a unique URL address.
The URL directs the donor not to your home page, but to a landing page that is coordinated in its design and messaging with the direct-mail package and enables the donor to make a gift online.
Some donors will give online, some will choose to respond via direct mail, and some will become donors who give via both channels over time. A recent study by Convio and StrategicOne suggests that these multi-channel donors might have a greater long-term value to your organization.