Focus On: Channel Integration: Piecing It All Together
Multi-channel fundraising is simply the idea that an organization uses more than one medium simultaneously (mail and telephone, for example) to conduct fundraising campaigns. Integrated fundraising is merely the process of making sure these campaigns are designed to work synergistically with one another.
We’re all familiar with the use of a single medium such as direct mail to support multiple types of fundraising. Joe Suarez and Gail Union of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum offer a seminar that illustrates that the majority of their deferred giving prospects and, ultimately, the majority of their deferred gifts come from people who were initially direct mail donors. Thus, we know that a single medium can be called on to serve multiple methods of fundraising. But this is not, strictly speaking, integrated fundraising.
Multi-channel fundraising is also increasingly common. Many organizations have, for example, an Internet-based strategy and also do direct mail. Some have mail, e-mail, telephone, face-to-face, display ads, magazine inserts, radiothons and DRTV all operating simultaneously. Integrating all of these, however, is somewhat more rare and certainly more challenging.
Does it work?
We hear about the supposed benefits of integrated fundraising, but does it really work? The answer is a qualified yes. There are now enough tests that have been conducted to certainly make it worthwhile to consider efforts to overcome the barriers and to attempt to integrate your fundraising efforts.
Perhaps amongst the first to use multiple channels in an integrated fashion were those organizations that used a medium such as DRTV for child sponsorship. The first contact and “ask” was via TV. The second contact and reinforcement of the ask was via telephone using an inbound 800 number for receiving pledges. The third contact was usually a pledge fulfillment for those not using credit cards, and that was by mail.