Integrating fundraising efforts across all marketing channels has become exceedingly important for all nonprofits.
Regardless of your budget size, your number of donors, your scope of reach … whether you’re a marketing pro or a marketing novice—this applies to you.
You need to build a cohesive, consistent, and complementary marketing outreach across all channels. Integrated marketing efforts will boost all your key metrics—including total revenue. From improving donor retention to creating stronger awareness, it is a proven fact that integrating your outreach efforts is going to improve your fundraising results.
Here are three universal truths that serve as a foundation for improving your marketing integration across channels.
ONE: PEOPLE, INCLUDING DONORS, SHOULD NOT BE DEFINED BY A PARTICULAR “CHANNEL” OR METHOD OF COMMUNICATION.
Often organizations decide to communicate with donors through whatever medium they were first acquired. If their first donation was online, then they’ll receive emails—and only emails—as long as they support the organization. Or they consider someone a “direct mail” donor simply because that is how she typically makes her donations.
This is a mistake.
Everyone is multi-channel. They may not give through multiple channels, but that doesn’t mean they don’t engage through multiple channels. Do you know anyone who checks their mail but not their email? Or attends to their voicemail box but not their mailbox? Of course not.
Most people operate the way you probably do: perhaps you get a retail catalog in the mailbox at home. It’s not the only thing you’ve seen recently, though; it probably reminds you of an email you just saw about their spring sale … you might flip through the catalog or head back to your email to see what offers they had there. You might pop into the store or shop around online. Whatever the case may be, you don’t receive just one method of communication, and you don’t engage with just one channel.
If you engage this way with businesses, why would your donors engage with your nonprofit any differently?
TWO: EVERYTHING MUST BE ALIGNED, INCLUDING THE MESSAGE, THE OFFER, THE IMAGERY, AND THE VOICE AND TONE.
Many organizations still operate their marketing channels in silos. They view and operate them as stand-alone ways to communicate. Organizations either don’t recognize the importance of integrating these channels, or do not have the expertise or capacity to do it. But again, it is a mistake to continue this habit.
Not integrating a consistent message across all channels is detrimental to your brand and suppresses the interaction, engagement, commitment, and—ultimately—donations that you could receive. Take the example about the retail catalog. You receive the catalog, and you’re interested in a particular product or special offer, but when you call the 800 number or visit the website, you can’t find anything that relates back to the catalog and the offer. Needless to say, you’re less likely to buy; you’re less likely to return; you’re less likely to refer friends … you walk away with a negative impression.
Too often nonprofits have one offer or message or theme in the mail with another one happening in email and neither reflected on the website. Don’t make this mistake and confuse your donors.
THREE: ACTIVELY DRIVE A MULTI-CHANNEL EXPERIENCE THAT ENGAGES THE TARGET AUDIENCE.
Integration isn’t only about making everything consistent. We actually want to drive people to the platform they are most familiar or comfortable with. It is amazing how many nonprofits are reluctant to share their phone number on a direct mail appeal, or to provide an email address for someone to contact … sometimes these aren’t even on their website!
The better option is to give people tons of ways to communicate, many ways to interact with you (a person!), and as many ways as possible to donate to your organization. First of all, you’re asking them for their hard-earned money, and not in exchange for anything—don’t be hesitant to offer real, personal contact. But beyond that, it’s not just about the getting the donation.
The current generation of donors want to have stronger experiences and engagements with the organizations they support. This is why social media is so important right now. It’s true (for now anyway) that digital outreach and social media don’t drive donations like direct mail does—but what the digital channels really do is drive engagement, involvement, and credibility. When the donor visits your social channel and your last post was 12 months ago, and you have 73 followers, it doesn’t matter how big you are—you’ve lost all street credibility with most donors today.
This fact is very difficult for many organizations because leadership isn’t on social, doesn’t interact on social, and “doesn’t get it”—but the reality is that billions of people of all ages are on social media every single day. Give them a way a compelling way to interact with you and your organization.
To learn more about integrated direct response fundraising, join Eric Streiff and Stephanie Walker fora free "Scotch Talk" on digital fundraising on Thursday, June 17th at 4:00pm EDT. You can register for free here.