AFP Conference Roundup: The Three A's of Multichannel Success
During the session "Retooling Your Nonprofit to Optimize Fundraising in Today's Multichannel World" at the 46th annual AFP International Conference on Fundraising in New Orleans last month, Orange Leap's Matt McCabe, StrategicOne's Mike Rogers and Sandy Ellingson of Precept Ministries International outlined these three main keys to multichannel success.
1) Access to data. This requires an open system that plays well with others. End users should have direct access to data answers, regardless of their technical prowess.
2) Acquiring the relevant information. With the right tools, non-techies can interact with data and create visualizations of it with maps, graphs and charts that clearly illustrate and answer important questions.
3) Automation. Constituents expect automation when it comes to:
- Recognition — e.g., personalization; achievement/status recognition; historical recognition (such as acknowledging length of giving or the amount of a person’s last gift in your letter to him).
- Choice and ease of use — Everyone has a preferred channel, McCabe said, but that channel of choice can change based on situations and convenience.
- Consistency of experience — Accurate, up-to-date information, actionable appeals and the power to transact.
Automation reduces staff time, and improves the efficiency of operations and the constituent experience.
What is required to achieve this automation? McCabe recommended active systems that recognize constituents based on language and rules predetermined by you, and real-time bi-directional data sharing.
Organizations have not automated in this way to date because previously it was too expensive, time consuming and complex. But any size organization can do this today because these barriers have been removed.
"Active systems are available today that actually will save you money over the most popular proprietary solutions," McCabe said.
Some of the key steps to automation that he recommended in the session are:
- Document your processes.
- Identify areas for automation.
- Define your business rules based on your strategy.
- Audit and document technical requirements (systems/software).
- Implement necessary technology.
Automation is key because, as McCabe noted, it allows organizations to interact with constituents in the ways that they are becoming accustomed to interacting as consumers.