How to Improve Fundraising Results With Omnichannel Campaigns
Since 2019, the World Jewish Congress has yielded a 300% increase in its multichannel campaigns. It brought in $274 in revenue for each donor using multiple channels, versus $189 per donor reached by direct mail only. That’s an $85 difference per donor.
“Being able to get in touch with people in as many ways as possible is the whole name of the game,” Brenna Holmes, principal and senior vice president at Chapman Cubine Allen + Hussey (CCAH), said “... You can’t force people to give through multiple channels. We want to reduce friction and just be available for them to give however, wherever they feel. But for some reason, people feel like giving online with a credit card isn’t real money, where writing a check feels like it is.”
While multichannel is reaching an audience through multiple channels, an omnichannel campaign takes it a step further and connects all of those channels to create a singular experience. Holmes and Jennifer Ingram, senior vice president of nonprofit digital at Wiland, presented on World Jewish Congress’ success in the Bridge Conference session, “First-Party Data for the Win! Successful Omnichannel Campaigns with Co-op Data.”
Here are a few takeaways that you can apply to your own organization, and how an omnichannel approach can improve your fundraising campaigns.
Enhance Your Donor List with First-Party Data
Legislation and tech companies continue to affect how nonprofits can build and track their campaigns. For example, Apple made significant moves last year that made email open rates an unreliable metric, Facebook adjusted its ad targeting by no longer allowing advertisers to use interest groups as of April and Google aims to eliminate third-party cookies by the end of 2023.
As it becomes more difficult to find and utilize third-party data, nonprofits will be forced to explore new paths to expand their reach to new — as well as existing — donors on more channels.
The solution? Rely on first-part data. This can come directly from your donors or via cooperative databases that can fill gaps and discover new donors.
“And as part of the cooperative, when you put [your donor data] in, we model your file and find people like yours that have that high capacity and propensity to give,” Ingram said. “So a co-op really does help because it tells you a lot more about your donors. So not only the people you can find, but do you also want to know more about who your [current] donors are?”
These databases have demographics, emails, social media handles, lifestyle, transactional history, and more powerful data points. An example of one profile includes a donor who:
- Gave to seven nonprofits in four fundraising categories in the past year
- Is 35 times more likely to follow ASPCA on social media
- Is 442% more likely to donate to humanitarian causes in the next 12 months
- Has interests that include golf, pets, and grandchildren
Another benefit of using a co-op for data is that you don’t have to worry about giving away or losing your donors to other organizations.
“I’ve got news for you — we already have your donors in our database,” Ingram said. “I can tell you that right now.”
The point of the co-op is to gather more complete data on the donors you already have to reach them on more channels, and find additional donors that behave like your current donors. The more data you provide the co-op, the better it performs its analysis.
“Because if you only give us your under $100 donors, guess what? We’re only going to get you under $100 donors,” Ingram said. “But if you give us your entire file, we’re able to see how each segment performs. We use RFM [recency, frequency, monetary value], as well as all of our other cooperative data.”
World Jewish Congress created a video for organic social campaigns, but then refreshed its creative by adding an end card to repurpose it for a display ad designed to acquire donors. As a result, the nonprofit received 12,000 impressions, 5,000 clicks, 200 signups and $10,000 in revenue, with a $96 average gift.
“If you’re looking at using video in ads,” Ingram said, “be thinking about, can I reuse this in a CTV ad? Can it go across platforms, because video is also sometimes more expensive to create and more expensive to place, so the more life and utilization you can get out of that, the better.”
Holmes pointed out that YouTube preload videos are six seconds, CTV and high-impact display video ads run 30 to 60 seconds, and social media performs best with 10- to 15-second cuts, so there are ways to optimize your spend by planning for all potential uses up front to improve your return on investment.
“Video is going to be critical for nonprofit growth in digital advertising in the future,” she said. “People are watching more and engaging more with video than ever before, and that’s not going to change.”
Test and Track to Learn What Works for Your Nonprofit
World Jewish Congress has one campaign in which it mailed pieces to leads acquired through targeted Facebook ads. While it broke even on that endeavor, it's always worth testing to see what works for your organization. After all, donor acquisition is an investment, Holmes said.
Year-over-year from 2020 to 2021, the organization increased gross revenue 14% across all channels, as well as increasing net revenue by 20% by mailing smarter, she said.
One way to test effectiveness is to hold out 10% of the audience. Send the direct mail piece to 100% of the audience, with 90% seeing an ad directly related to the nonprofit, and 10% seeing an unrelated ad, like a Smokey the Bear public service announcement, Ingram said.
Once the ad effectiveness was established, World Jewish Congress used a combination of direct mail and Facebook display ads, targeting recent acquisitions and a small group of extremely lapsed donors. After investing $55,600 in media spend from 2019 to 2021, the organization made close to $1.2 million — a 21-to-1 return on advertising spending (ROAS) when using a 14-day lookback window for digital donations.
“If you can get the right audience, you can get these kinds of numbers,” Ingram said.
Amanda L. Cole is the editor-in-chief of NonProfit PRO. She was formerly editor-in-chief of special projects for NonProfit PRO's sister publication, Promo Marketing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.