Channel Integration: From Ordeal to Ideal
Savvy nonprofits have seen both the vision and value of multi-channel fundraising and are actively using multiple mediums to support their fundraising efforts. The process of integrating channels — that is, working to ensure all mediums used in a campaign share the same message, branding and call to action — is not without its share of challenges. In fact, it’s not enough for nonprofits simply to use e-mails, Web content and direct mail in a fundraising campaign; the mediums must work together to support the same end goal.
Below are nine common mistakes nonprofits make when approaching their channel-integration strategy — and what to do right to help ensure a flawless campaign.
Failing to create cross-functional campaign-integration teams. Depending on the size of the organization, the Web site might fall under the IT department’s purview, or perhaps e-mail campaigns are the responsibility of the communications office. How can development professionals successfully develop and execute a channel-integration strategy without enlisting the help, support and, ultimately, buy-in of the departments responsible for several of the channels?
Developing a cross-functional team, including representation from development, IT, marketing/communications, public relations and any other major stakeholders, is critical to the success of a channel-integration strategy. Use this opportunity to share the vision and expected outcome of the campaign to gain buy-in and resources from each respective department.
Forgetting the power and value of segmentation. Fundraisers have become experts in segmenting their database to communicate differently with 50-year-old Latino males interested in lung cancer research than they do with 20-year-old white females who want to quit smoking. But this best practice often flies out the window when working on an integrated, multi-channel fundraising campaign.
Many nonprofits mistake these large-scale campaigns as an opportunity to blast their entire database using multiple channels. But just as in smaller, one-channel campaigns, segmentation (including appropriate ask amounts) can be critical to the success of the campaign. Using multiple channels doesn’t mean that each channel should not be targeted to a specific audience. In fact, successful integrated campaigns often consist of several mini-campaigns — each using multiple channels such as Web, phone and direct mail — that target unique database segments using personalized, relevant messaging and appropriate ask amounts based on capacity, propensity and affinity to give.