Nonprofits Take An Integrated Approach
Nonprofit organizations are able to consistently and successfully communicate with their donors by using diverse communication channels and implementing an integrated campaign that leverages consistent messaging and branding throughout a wide variety of fundraising techniques.
By employing a consistent and unified message throughout each medium of donor contact and each stage of the donor life cycle, nonprofits are establishing stronger brand awareness. They are creating an experience that is familiar to the donor by utilizing a distinctive look and feel for their organization and repeating it in each channel, further strengthening their relationships. Building brand awareness is becoming increasingly important and necessary for success as the competition in the nonprofit arena intensifies and donors become overwhelmed with appeals.
Nonprofits also are gaining visibility and building awareness by utilizing numerous media channels that leverage fundraising efforts with proven success in the past. They are taking advantage of a multi-channel approach and reaching out to their donors by incorporating print ads, e-mail campaigns, online efforts, events, television, radio and direct mail into their campaigns. Employing a wide array of communication vehicles enables them to reach out to their donors in different ways throughout each stage of the donor life cycle and go far beyond the standard “ask.” This approach to donor management fosters donor cultivation and growth -- from acquisition and retention to renewal and upgrade, resulting in committed, life-long supporters.
The Internet is one area in particular that nonprofits are adding to their marketing mix. Online efforts have proven to work best in conjunction with other fundraising techniques, particularly direct mail, but together they provide deeper donor relationships. Nonprofits are realizing the importance and benefits of having a strong online presence and are investing in enhanced Web sites by improving both their appearance and functionality. Accepting online donations is also quickly becoming the norm, with its added convenience.
By including their URL in all communications, nonprofits are driving traffic to their Web sites and encouraging donors to get into the habit of using them as a source of information. This allows their supporters to be more educated and feel further connected with their mission, something that the younger, next generation of donors is craving.
Sending regular and frequent e-newsletters is a great tool to keep donors updated, and personalized e-mail campaigns are extremely useful for thanking donors for recent contributions as well as strengthening appeals.
While these online efforts are very effective for reaching the younger audience, traditional direct mail fundraising is still important for targeting the older pool of donors who generally are less accustomed to the Internet -- another example of why multi-channel fundraising makes for a more well rounded development program.
The cost savings of online communications compared with print and direct mail is another enticing benefit that is encouraging nonprofits to take advantage of this medium. Electronic correspondence provides highly targeted communications for pennies per contact and can be easily modified. For instance, nonprofits have the ability to contact and attempt to renew lapsed donors via email, which is much more affordable compared with the high costs associated with direct mail, thus enabling them to go deeper into their donor files, files that might have not been pursued in the past.
Nadia Orr is marketing coordinator for Brickmill Marketing Services (http://www.brickmill.com), a New England-based full-service marketing and fundraising agency. She can be reached at 800.535.3863.