In today’s connected world  — where seemingly everyone is using their smart phones to update social networks, check email, and pump out hundreds of text messaging a week — direct mail can look a bit outdated to some nonprofits looking to raise money in support of their mission.

It’s easy to assume that donors are using newer forms of communication to stay connected and support the causes they love. So what’s the harm in dropping a channel? It sure would save a lot of time and money.

Oh, if only it were that simple.

The world of giving is not nearly that neat and homogeneous and the DNA of donors is about as counter-intuitive as it comes.

But understanding the power of a multichannel fundraising approach is critical to Online Fundraising Success.

Here are few key insights about multichannel givers from our 2011 Multichannel Fundraising Report.

Online Donors Need to be Moved Offline

It’s become increasingly common for new donors to give their first gift online, but without a strategy to move these new donors to an offline cultivation channel you’ll miss out on a significant increase in fundraising revenue.

NewDonors Multichannel Givers: The Key to Online Fundraising Success

Online donors tend to be significantly younger, more affluent, and more generous than their offline counterparts (check out the infographic to “See” more). But they also tend to make a one-time, larger-than-average donation and then disappear for good. They don’t naturally flow to another channel, despite their tech savvy tendencies, nor do they stick with a cause simply because gave a donation once.

It’s a challenging situation for any nonprofit. You do a lot of work to build up your online fundraising program only to see an increased number of one-time givers. Not ideal.

The trick is to quickly turn those online givers into long term supporters through offline methods.

i.e. Direct Mail.

When you can convert an online donor to an offline channel (i.e. multichannel fundraising) like direct mail they tend to give much more over the course of time than their offline giving counterparts do – up to three times more in some cases.

Check out some Online fundraising tools that can help you gain more donors online and cultivate them to become long term offline supporters.


Check out the Full Multichannel Giving Infographic

Online Donors are Worth More

Most direct mail donors join at $10, $15, and $25 levels while most online donors join at $25, $50, and $100.

Below the $25 contributions mark, online donors — once converted to direct mail giving — outperform donors that were acquired via direct mail. At the $25 contribution mark, offline and online acquired donors tend to give the same cumulative amount over time.

At the $50 contribution mark and above, the higher retention rates in mail-acquired donors tend to result in higher cumulative revenue per donor than those acquired online. It is important to note, however, that online donors in the smaller contribution category are relatively rare, while mail donors in the high-end contribution category are equally rare.

Furthermore, those online donors who initially contribute at the lower contribution levels upgrade relatively easily to higher levels of giving. Online donors who initially contribute at the higher levels may reduce their subsequent giving, but will still trend at higher cumulative revenue that those donors who were acquired through direct mail.

A Simple Approach

All told, the smart strategy is to use the internet to attract younger, more affluent and very generous donors, and  then use direct mail to retain these donors after their initial gift.

Plan your conversion strategies to attract online donors to direct mail immediately after their first gift, though: online donors tend to make the shift within the first year, or not at all.

 

 

2011 Multichannel Fundraising Report

Download the complete Multichannel Fundraising Report to learn more about how the industry is changing, the turn to online fundraising and the need for a multichannel approach.

DownloadBtn Multichannel Givers: The Key to Online Fundraising Success

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frank Barry, director of digital marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE, helps nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising so they can focus changing the world. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter - @franswaa or Google+

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