The 7 Steps to Multichannel Success
No. 4: Walk a mile in your donors' shoes
What is the cadence and timing of your communication to them? How are you talking about breaking news? Communicating victories? Will your donor be confused if she gets a direct-mail piece focusing on one issue or program, an e-mail talking about another, and a phone call talking about a third? Direct mail, telemarketing, e-mail, website, Facebook, tweets, news- letter — which channel(s) make the most sense for each message?
No. 5: Test, test, test …
… and sometimes just give something a try. Lots of organizations do a good job testing their direct-mail programs. Some do a good job testing their online programs. But very few do a good job testing across channels. To be fair, setting up true multichannel tests is difficult — but well worth it (especially if you have issues with rule No. 1 or rule No. 3).
No. 6: Measure results
This goes hand in glove with testing — but don't just measure the results of your tests. Measure your donor value across channels. Create "control" or "business as usual" groups to measure the impact of multichannel efforts on the test vs. the control. Ensure you have statistically significant results (we like the rule of 300 — the statistics measure that dictates statistical validity when you have at least 300 responses — but multi- variate testing can help with smaller test panels and audience sizes). Look beyond pure campaign-level results. Are you upgrading more donors? Converting more to monthly donors? Renewing donors earlier?
No. 7: (Start to) integrate your systems
We all want a wholly integrated system that manages all contacts and responses by channel, across channels for every constituent record, records all their interests, is super-easy to query, etc. But one doesn't exist — yet. (Or, rather, it is too cost-prohibitive for most nonprofits to use.) But that doesn't mean you can't aspire to system integration. Passing e-mail addresses collected offline to your online database is just as critical as putting online transactions in your offline database. Without some level of system integration, you won't be able to measure donor value, integrated campaign results, donor retention and more.