Getting Your Wires Crossed
f your idea of multi-channel fundraising involves sitting at a desk with a telephone receiver balanced between your ear and shoulder with your finger poised to hit “send” for an e-mail appeal as you drop a direct-mail package in the outbox, cease the blitz campaign for a minute and read on.
Multi-channel fundraising, which professionals across the board acknowledge is a strategy whose time has come, sounds easy when you break it down: You’ve got channels — multiples of them. Integrate them and raise funds. Simple, right? But while an all-out assault on potential donors from every which way might get your organization noticed, it probably won’t be the kind of attention you’re seeking.
Properly executed multi-channel fundraising involves timing, and an understanding of donors and prospects, tracking, and response-rate metrics, among other things, designed to result in a seamless amalgam of unified, branded messages that support each other and your
According to Tom Gaffny, executive vice president of fundraising for Wakefield, Mass.-based Epsilon, which specializes in customer relationships, it’s a relationship builder that demonstrates “the charity’s interest in the person, the commitment to the person, the idea of good stewardship and the fact that [the nonprofit] wants to have a relationship.”
It also allows you to offer donors a variety of communications, not all of which have to contain asks. If your direct mail is ask-heavy, for example, your e-mails could focus more on activism while your newsletter promotes news and advocacy. Testing to figure out the best combination of channels almost goes without saying.
But the key, Gaffny maintains, is ensuring that new channels supplement existing ones, rather than replace them. Moving a donor out of one channel and into another simply defeats the purpose. Your goal, he says, is to forge a well-rounded communication strategy that helps “support, cultivate, nurture and educate” a loyal and knowledgeable donor base.