Focus On: Channel Integration: Piecing It All Together
Philadelphia’s WXPN-FM integrated e-mail, direct mail and on-air solicitation of supporters and doubled the number of renewed previously lapsed donors. Similar results with WTVS, the Detroit PBS station.
Operation USO Care Package used direct mail, e-mail, public service announcements, PR, display ads, workplace giving, cause-related marketing, corporate sponsorships, gifts in kind and special events. Media included television, newspapers, magazines, Web site and inbound telemarketing, and the campaign raised more than $20 million in a year.
Clearly there have been significant efforts by a wide variety of nonprofit organizations to integrate their fundraising messages. Some of these clearly also have paid off handsomely for those organizations.
Impediments to integration
Probably the most significant impediment to this approach is attempting to integrate the databases supporting each medium. Maintaining a transaction history of e-marketing efforts is simple, but it is rare that that database is also integrated with the direct mail database, which requires “list hygiene” such as NCOA and periodic de-duplication. Frequently the tools used for database maintenance for e-mail are quite different from the tools used for telemarketing and direct mail. Even more noticeable is the problem of trying to integrate major-donor and special-event databases with direct mail.
Another difficulty is the problem of “territoriality” common in many nonprofits. How often are direct response communication tools such as e-mail or the existence of a Web site under the purview of “communications” or “information technology” or “programs” rather than the development office? How often does one find a charity that is unwilling to invest significant amounts of money in prospecting for new donors yet will spend significant amounts of money on an annual report to donors and refer to it as stewardship or corporate communications? Fundraising efforts are often measured on their “return on investment,” but other communications efforts are not similarly measured.