Getting Your Wires Crossed
As simple — and simplistic — as it sounds, multi-channel is just now coming into its own as a structured fundraising strategy. According to Roger Craver, founder and chief executive of Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit direct-response firm Craver, Mathews, Smith and Co., nonprofits are “waking up” to the power of integrated, multi-channel fundraising programs. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Craver says most nonprofits go through three distinct stages before finally embracing it:
Stage One: Denial (“Integration won’t work for my organization.”)
Stage Two: Anger (“Others are doing so well, so why can’t we?”)
Stage Three: Acceptance (“Maybe this isn’t a fad after all …”)
This is for those of you who finally have come to Stage Three, are shaking off your shroud of denial and squinting in the bright light of fundraising’s future. And from what we hear, you’re in the majority.
Brave new Brady
One organization that surmounted the challenge of how and how frequently to communicate with donors is the Washington, D.C.-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which launched a multi-channel fundraising campaign about two years ago.
The organization wanted to increase its e-constituent list and then integrate those new names into its direct-mail efforts.
With 38,000 member and non-donor activist e-mail addresses, the organization launched a microsite supported by a print ad campaign called
the “NRAblacklist.com” in fall 2003. The page rails against an NRA-issued list of individuals, organizations and businesses that oppose “immunizing gun sellers against civil liability” and invites visitors to join that list by signing an online petition.
The strategy quickly captured more than 60,000 new e-constituents. Spurred by this success and gun-related federal legislative battles in 2004, the Brady Campaign began a new online campaign called "stoptheNRA.com,” which mixed e-mail appeals for funds with action alerts such as petitions.
In September 2004, the organization mailed an acquisition package to 33,000 non-donor e-constituents. The result: 1.26 percent response,
a $24.22 average gift and a net per acquired of -$6.22. The Brady Campaign then took the concept a step further and contacted by phone 20,000 non-donor e-constituents who had followed through with an online action, such as signing a petition. The results: a 21 percent pledge rate and average pledge of $27.38.