“We talk a good game in this business about multichannel integration, and it’s sort of like a hypocritical preacher: Everyone who’s talking about heaven ain’t going there,” Craver said. “But the reality is, for example, Campbell Rinker released a survey that 31 percent or 32 percent of the gifts that came in online came in online as a result of the direct-response solicitation. So we do need to pay real attention to that. And historically, there’s been a problem integrating the direct-mail, the direct-response data with the online data.”
MacLaughlin added that Blackbaud specifically looked at multichannel donors this past year and found they are the most loyal and have better long-term value than any other type of donor.
“They’re the best donor you can have,” he said. “There’s not a lot, but they’re by far in every category measurement the best.”
For instance, the reactivation rate for multichannel donors is 16 percent versus 7 percent for online and offline. First-year donor retention is better. Donor retention of five or more years is much better. “If there’s anyone to focus on, it’s your multichannel donor,” MacLaughlin said.
Craver added that it is truly a mystery to him how little telemarketing is used in conjunction with online activity. He believes it’s one of the most powerful multichannel combos. After someone takes an action online, fundraisers should “then call them and thank them and ask them to become a monthly donor or ask them for a special campaign gift. It’s a slam dunk, yet it simply isn’t used by many groups,” Craver said.
“The other thing we’ve found is donors switching channels, which is really fascinating and goes against conventional wisdom,” MacLaughlin said. Blackbaud found that online donors in a year-over-year study switched to become offline donors 30 percent of the time while offline donors only switched about 3 percent of the time to online donors.