Are Your Online and Offline Efforts in Sync?
This is not bad. Cross-channel donors have higher value than online-only or mail-only donors. But it undermines the foundation of the Great Compromise.
Think about this now-common scenario: Mrs. Donor gets your direct mail. It's corny and loud, the way effective direct mail is. It grabs her attention. She goes online.
When she lands on your website, she finds modern design and branded, aspirational abstractions. The simple, straightforward call to action that Mrs. Donor was moved by in the mail? It's nowhere to be found.
Often — and there's no way of knowing how often — Mrs. Donor gets lost during her visit to your website. Something like one of these things happens:
- The website looks so different from the direct mail that she thinks she's arrived at the wrong place. She goes somewhere else.
- She can't find the "Donate Now" button because it's camouflaged by a tasteful and congruent brand color. Or there isn't one at all.
- She can't find the offer that came into her mailbox. It was simple, affordable and concrete. The website talks about the conceptual underpinnings of the organization or high-flown claims about how cutting-edge it is. The mail was about meals for hungry children, but the website is about "hope" for "emerging communities." (Don't laugh; I'm not making this up!)
- It's so hard to find, fill out or complete the donation form that she gives up.
Direct-mail response rates have been dropping across the fundraising industry for several years now. One of the things driving this is the new channel-crossing behavior. I've seen figures saying as much as 30 percent of donors who respond to direct mail do so via the Web.
That doesn't tell us how many tried to donate via the Web but didn't because of the Great Compromise.