Mastering Multichannel Acquisition
New-donor acquisition is the pillar of any nonprofit. Without new donors, eventually attrition whittles down an organization’s file, revenue, and ability to run programs and fulfill its mission. A continual stream of new blood is necessary to replace lapsing and deceased donors.
With the onset of new and emerging technologies in the fundraising arena, today’s fundraisers have many channels by which to acquire new donors. The question is: Which are the best? Well, there really is no right answer — it depends on the organization’s objectives, resources and capacity. Ultimately, a fully integrated approach utilizing multiple channels in concert is optimal. This article discusses the channels available in your fundraising toolbox, best practices for each and how to integrate those channels.
Direct mail is the workhorse of the fundraising industry. While many thought the Internet would make mail obsolete, the fact is that 93 percent of fundraising dollars are still raised through traditional offline channels for most charities — see the 2012 Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report — and your typical donor (female, 60+) still gives through the mail. Direct mail provides a reliable base of support on which to build an integrated program, so shore up your direct-mail efforts before branching out into newer channels. Also continue to test (creative, offers, ask strings, etc.) within your file to optimize net revenue and lower your cost to acquire a new donor.
Online channels expand opportunities to deliver multiple touchpoints to prospects, with the most basic integration being email. If your marketing acquisition list contains email addresses, send pre- and post-messages to bookend your direct-mail effort. This is most easily done with lapsed names. The pre-email lets prospects know their direct-mail piece is on its way and offers them an opportunity to complete the desired action online. The post-email is a reminder to complete the desired action if they did not respond to the direct-mail piece.
Angela Struebing is president of CDR Fundraising Group, a multichannel agency focused on helping nonprofits maximize their online, direct mail, telemarketing and DRTV fundraising results. As president, Angela is responsible for overall agency management and strategic planning for national nonprofit clients to include The Wounded Warrior Project, Shriners’ Hospitals for Children, MoMA and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Angela is a frequent speaker at industry events and is recognized for her strategic expertise. She has also served as Education co-chair for the Bridge Conference.