Multichannel Explosion ... and Evolution for Fundraisers
The following is an excerpt from "The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising," the new 131-page report from DirectMarketingIQ. It includes nine chapters from leading fundraisers on channel selection, messaging, direct mail, e-mail, mobile, social media, multichannel renewal, multichannel testing and more. It also features eight multichannel case studies on successful campaigns from such organizations as the Human Rights Campaign, the Gorilla Organization, the Salvation Army and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The core philosophy of integrated marketing is hardly new — that by communicating a consistently targeted message to constituents across multiple channels we increase overall effectiveness beyond the potential of any one channel alone.
But in recent years, the number and nature of channels have increased exponentially. Once a mix of PR, advertising, direct mail and telemarketing, integrated marketing has rapidly evolved to include websites, e-mail, social media, SMS and smartphone applications. The boundaries between these digital channels are fluid, providing constituents with more choices than ever before in how they interact with the causes they support.
Direct mail is still the workhorse of individual giving, yet even this offline channel is deeply influenced by the digital communications revolution. Traditional direct-mail practices are evolving as we confront the treasure trove of new data available through digital channels.
Donors are changing too. Digital technologies have splintered and fragmented audiences — particularly along generational lines — and the audiences themselves are growing more sophisticated and demanding in their expectations of nonprofits. We are transitioning from a world of constituent relationship management to one of constituent managed relationships, where the constituent has more influence and control over when, how and where to engage.
The organizations that successfully transition to the new world of integrated direct-response marketing will have a unique advantage in their ability to serve donors. By listening closely to donors and striving to interact one to one across the array of new channels, nonprofits can provide donors with the value they seek while maximizing the value of each relationship. In doing so, the organizations themselves will reap the greatest benefit.
Research continually reinforces the axiom that constituents with online and offline relationships are simply more valuable. More channels typically result in more touches and more solicitations; these constituents respond in their channels of choice with more frequency than any others.
Navigating the unknown of a rapidly evolving multichannel world can be overwhelming. The reality is that research and testing no longer keep pace with technological innovation. It's critical that organizations continue to act and adapt.
Getting bogged down in constructing the perfect solution is not an option. The availability of information, the profusion of media sources, the boom in the number of nonprofits created each year mean that we are living in a world where nonprofits must become increasingly competitive for donor dollars. Connecting people to your cause in ways that maximize the value of every relationship requires the right mix of techniques, technologies and timing to achieve the results you desire.
Dennis McCarthy is the vice president of strategy & business practice at Convio, which provides on-demand software and fundraising solutions for nonprofits. He, along with three colleagues, authored chapter one in the new report, "The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising," published by DirectMarketingIQ.