When used in concert with each other and with your other fundraising strategies, omnipresent technological companions such as TVs, cell phones and computers can help you net more quality donors and perhaps even nudge them into the fundraising holy ground that is monthly giving.
Michael Johnston, president of Toronto-based Internet-fundraising consultancy HJC New Media, talked about this in his session on direct-response fundraising trends at the 43rd AFP International Conference on Fundraising in Atlanta in early April. His focus: integrating online strategies with other mediums — a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
“A planned marketing mix is more effective than a random selection of distribution channels,” he says.
For example, the Howard Dean campaign was revolutionary in raising money online, netting more than 500,000 online supporters and featuring peer-to-peer fundraising. What’s more, after the 2004 tsunami and Katrina in 2005, hundreds of thousands of people went online and gave to organizations for the first time. The challenge, Johnston says, has been how to combine the strengths of different mediums to keep those new donors giving and, even better, to keep them giving monthly via guaranteed electronic funds transfers.
While a lot of organizations are amassing a great many donors and non-donor constituents online, most haven’t used the phone to communicate with them, Johnston says.
Oxfam Canada, an international development organization that supports community programs in food security, health, nutrition and democratic development, acquired 18,000 new donors who gave to tsunami relief. About half donated through a toll-free phone number, and half gave via the Web. The organization wanted to convert these emergency donors to a monthly giving program it devised. (For a more complete look at how Oxfam did this, see the sidebar.) HJC worked with Oxfam to test different combinations of offline and online “asks,” with different test segments to see which channels could best be used in combination with each other to get one-time donors to convert to monthly giving. The test groups were broken down into the following: