Surround Sound Fundraising
The growth of the Internet and the expansion of digital communications give nonprofits new ways to reach their donors and supporters. While the old techniques — direct mail and telemarketing — still work and generate responses, they alone are no longer the "gold standard" in fundraising. Savvy nonprofits are moving to "surround sound" fundraising.
What is surround sound fundraising? It is a donor-centric communication schema that places the organization's supporter at the center of the fundraising campaign and incorporates his or her unique perspective. It is a multitouch, multiphase effort that employs multimedia techniques on multiple devices (smartphones, tablets, newspapers, computers, radio, mailbox, television advertising and more). Surround sound fundraising recognizes that there is no such thing as a single-channel donor because there is no such thing as a single-channel person. Supporters receive messaging via a variety of media every day, and among these many touchpoints donors have preferred channels of communication.
Consider this startling projection: By 2015 (just a few months away!) Americans will consume an average of 15.5 hours of media per day. The majority (90 percent) of these interactions will be screen-based, most often involving the closest device. This statistic underscores the importance of digital to fundraising efforts and provides a key insight: Marketing campaigns must take into account donor preference. Donors, like all of us, are creatures of convenience. Interactions must be as easy as possible.
In developing surround sound campaigns, there are four Ws to keep in mind: who, what, where and when. The who component recognizes that nonprofits generally have four campaign audiences: prospects, renewals, reinstates and appeals, which can incorporate all of the preceding three donor categories. What and where go hand in hand. Nonprofits should utilize direct mail, email, their websites — especially the homepage, SMS, display or banner ads, search, social media including custom targeting tools like Facebook advertising, and live telemarketing and prerecorded "auto-calls." Last, but not least, is when. Timing is important, especially with surround sound campaigns. It is critical to pinpoint the in-home date of direct-mail packages and then coordinate pre- and post-in-home touches with email, ads, telephone calls and so forth.