The Omnichannel Nonprofit
“The good news is donors and supporters will tell you when you’ve done it wrong,” Ellinger says. “… When you use a one-size-fits-all database approach, you can discount — unintentionally but painfully — those other experiences.”
MADD apologized to those lifetime supporters after hearing back from them and put systems in place to prevent mistakes like that in future.
Working toward omnichannel success
The hiccups are par for the course. As Ellinger says, “being truly omnichannel is like being fully enlightened” — you can work toward it but will never fully achieve it. Yet that doesn’t mean nonprofits should throw up their hands and surrender, because moving as close to omnichannel nirvana as you can has real effects backed up by data.
So where do you start?
“The way you eat an elephant is one bite at a time,” Ellinger says. “Getting your online database to talk to your offline database and vice versa is the first step and great one. … Once you have the tech portion worked out and people see what they are able to do with it, it naturally breaks down resistance barriers.”
Holmes suggests starting with your direct response fundraising efforts to test it and then scale up those learnings across the organization. It’s an easy place to test and to test on the appropriate scale, and it’s also a great place to show the results with hard data.
When it all boils down, it’s about talking to the donor as he or she wishes to be spoken to and interacted with because, as Holmes says, “the donor’s opinion is all that matters at the end of the day.”
That’s really what being omnichannel is all about — breaking down the barriers and confusion within your own organization to make the donor’s journey better, more consistent, more personal and more immersive.