Multichannel: It’s About Using the Right Means of Transport for Donors
I took a journey to watch the Olympic cycling road race last week. It was about 30 miles from where I live, and the place I wanted to get to was at the top of one of the hills on the route (I like to see the riders struggle up the hills).
How did I get there? I put my bike in the car, drove to a parking spot about five miles from the race route, cycled to within a mile where I locked up the bike and walked the last mile through the crowds, up the hill to the road side.
What if I had tried to get all the way in my car? I would have been turned away. Or walked the whole thing? I would have missed the event altogether. The point is I used the common-sense approach — the right means of transport for each stage of the journey — and I reached my destination.
Likewise, you wouldn’t expect donors to fulfill their giving potential if the only means of communication you had was, say, e-mail. Building a relationship with a donor is about nurturing support, understanding motives and what the donor is likely to want to support — and you are likely to need different communication channels depending on where donors are in their donor journeys. You also need a donor database to track where they are on their journeys and the tools with which to engage them.
The nonprofit world seems to be hung up on whether multichannel donors are more valuable than single-channel donors. The 2011 donorCentrics survey answered the question, perhaps unsurprisingly, with a “yes.” It found that those donors who are acquired online and then cross over to offline giving (and just less than half do) are more valuable and are retained for longer. But the more important question for me is, “What channels do I need to use when?”