Five Thoughts About Integrated Fundraising
Oftentimes, e-mail messages are shorter than the direct-mail package text, with an invitation to learn more by visiting a landing page (with its own URL) or the homepage on the charity’s Web site. The story on the Web site often contains more information than is in the direct-mail package. This allows the charity to say, “For more information about Maria, please go to www.____” in both the outbound e-mail and in the direct-mail package. Survey research shows this will be done by about 8 percent of the readers of the direct-mail package and by a higher percentage of the e-mail readers, and that it will reinforce the initial marketing.
Thus, you typically want to use some of the same graphics (to create the same look and feel) and the same stories and themes in all channels designed to be read around the same time. Because of typical USPS delivery times, which are lengthening, an e-mail message or display ad designed to coordinate with a direct-mail package often will be sent or published as much as a week or more after the direct-mail package is sent.
Another example of coordination is the reuse of content. Many organizations find it burdensome to create new content on an ongoing basis for e-newsletters and regularly mailed newsletters. One strategy is to take a typical four-page, quarterly newsletter that has been sent by regular mail and divide it into monthly e-newsletters, allowing readers to opt in or out of either channel. Often a four-page newsletter has three main stories and filler material. Each of these three stories can be a stand-alone e-newsletter message, allowing a greater frequency of contact but with new information each time.
Some organizations want to create an Adobe PDF of their print newsletter and then send it by e-mail. It’s a good idea to post PDFs of prior newsletters on the Web site so people can download them if they wish. However, sending a PDF as an attachment to an outbound e-mail message generally is not a good idea. Often messages with attachments are blocked by spam filters. Also, not everyone has downloaded a PDF reader (even though it’s free), so they can’t open the attachment.