Fundraising Communications-Remember to Dot Your I's and Cross
Fundraising Communications: Remember to Dot Your I's and Cross Your Channels
Dec. 13, 2005
By Sarah Durham and Ali Kiselis
When it comes to effectively communicating about your organization, consistency is key. Consistency that runs deep: from what a board member says at a gala to how your general office phone is answered to your holiday appeal. When all potential points of contact, or channels, work together fluidly, you maintain strong channel integration -- a fundamental, yet often underutilized ingredient in fundraising communications.
Channel integration largely impacts two aspects of fundraising communications: your brand and specific campaigns. With branding, channel integration means using the same messages (visual, written, spoken) at all points of contact that a donor or other audience member has with your organization. Each point of contact reinforces the messages you want her to receive. When applied to a fundraising campaign, channel integration allows you to reach the donor through the medium she's most comfortable using (meeting, e-mail, Web, PowerPoint, mail, etc.) and build on the campaign's more focused message at each additional point of contact.
Nonprofit organizations that actively integrate all of the channels at their disposal are best positioned for fundraising success. However, what often happens is that nonprofits heavily rely on some channels and forget about others. For instance, the person who answers the general office phone should answer it in a way that reinforces the tone and personality of your organization's annual report or Web site.
Most commonly used channels in nonprofit fundraising communications:
- Web site
- direct mail
- annual reports
Most often overlooked channels in nonprofit fundraising communications:
- spoken contact (what a board member says while mingling at a gala, for instance)
- office elements (for example, how the phone is answered, signage, color of the walls)
Sarah Durham is president of Big Duck, a New York City-based branding, marketing and fundraising firm for nonprofits. She serves on the boards of the National Brain Tumor Society and the New York Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).