A Conversation on Integrated Marketing and Fundraising, Part 2
[Editor's note: This is part 2 of a three-part conversation on integrated marketing and fundraising with members of the fundraising sector's newly formed Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB). Click here to view part 1.]
Here, FundRaising Success continues its conversation with IMAB Chairman Michael Johnston, founder and president of Hewitt and Johnston Consultants (hjc), and IMAB member Sara Spivey, chief marketing officer at Convio, about the role of the IMAB and the importance of integrated marketing and fundraising in today's landscape.
FundRaising Success: What are the challenges nonprofits face in integration?
Michael Johnston: One challenge is simply definitions. Are people even talking about the same thing when they talk about integration? Is integration about channels? Is integration about departments working together? Is integration about different levels of giving being connected? Integration around fund development and non-fund development? It's kind of like three-dimensional chess. We just need to define the chess board and be comfortable together. That's part of the work that the advisory board is doing, that together right now we're trying to get some agreement on these broad themes and issues and tactics, and then hopefully that will give more focus to filling in some of these gaps. That's one of the challenges, definition itself.
Then another challenge is a lack of practitioner case studies. You see in the sector as soon as someone — say [the Humane Society of the United States] and Geoff Handy — comes out with some integrated testing, they're the kind of organization that likes to share. People grab on to that. They're so few and far between — well thought out, integrated case studies — that people are just scrambling to get them and read them. We want to see more of that out there.
Sara Spivey: The third one I'd add is even if you can practically get to a common glossary and some common processes, the tools that are available getting better. The amount of data and the amount of analysis that needs to be done to really accelerate an integrated marketing effort isn't always easy to get or easy to share. There's a whole area, and my presence on the board is really related to the right tools for the job and how you propagate tools usage, systems usage, process usage to make this easier. One of the reasons why this is kind of the Holy Grail is it's not easy to do.