Special Report: Pulling It All ?Together: Smart Channel-Integration Strategies
6. Understand what each channel's strengths are, and create your campaigns to utilize those strengths. Mail, DRTV, one-on-one major-donor solicitations and e-mail are still the fundraising powerhouses — use them as the core of your campaign, and integrate events, online ads, mobile marketing and social networking to get the word out, involve new audiences in your mission and generate buzz around your campaigns!
7. Just like you've added an e-mail ask to all of your communications, it's important to integrate your messaging across all channels, too. Ask not how you can integrate your recent direct-mail package, rather, what issues are most relevant now and what channels you can leverage to engage your supporters in creating change. For instance, your February direct-mail package might focus on homeless veterans and the harsh winter, and you plan a three-part e-mail campaign with price-point asks for the food, clothes and medical care you're raising money to provide. Then you update your Facebook profile and Twitter status with your goal progress, info on the shelters at which you'll be distributing food and clothes, and photos and videos taken during the event, asking people to donate an hour at a shelter and add the campaign badge to their profiles.
8. Track what issues your supporters are interested in wherever you can. Use interest codes, groups and flags to note that Bethany is interested in microfinance in the developing world, Alisdair responded to your recent dog appeal (vs. the cat version) and Zakia signed a petition supporting work programs for injured veterans. Include this interest tracking in your data transfers so you can use it to make your communications across all channels more relevant to each of your constituents.
All of this requires some significant data integration — how it should be done depends on whether you have the staff to do it manually or the funds to automate it. Many organizations have multiple databases, also known as "data silos," and don't share important information that could benefit their cross-channel marketing. Donors don't see your programs or their support in terms of silos, so that's not the way you should connect with them! In order to communicate one big, consistent picture, you need to create processes for regular data transfers across databases and channels.
Remember, the rising tide raises all ships, and integrating your fundraising and marketing channels increases your bottom line by providing more consistent and relevant messaging to your supporters. More and more, supporters expect you to communicate with them like they are unique individuals — and not just donor ID #0164892. Better integration across channels and communication streams takes a lot of work and coordination, but it pays off by producing engaged donors who give more, stick with you longer and talk to their friends about the great causes they support! FS