Channel Integration Now and Later | npENGAGE

Channel Integration Now and Later

By on Dec 5, 2012


We all know that the more standard channels to integrate are direct and tele-fundraising, and in the last several years nonprofit fundraising professionals have added email to the channel integration mix.

Now many of you are waving a finger at me, telling me, what about social media and mobile for integrated marketing. So yes in deference to those out there who are “all in” for leveraging social media, mobile into their campaigns let me give you some new great news that you should share with your senior leadership and boards.

For some time social media was understood to be a brand building and awareness tool with limited ROI capabilities and used as such within integrated marketing campaigns

All that, in my mind, changed when Loyalty One, an agency in Toronto published a study a few months ago on the impact of social media marketing to people who were members of the AirMiles program. The AirMiles program is the largest loyalty program in Canada. So a very large data set with a study conducted by a large agency working with B to C clients.

The agency split the audience in two, with one group receiving messages through social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and the other half not. The agency learned that by targeting high potential constituents who were not fully engaged in the AirMiles program and then messaging those through social media had a profound impact.

These constituents increased their wallet share by 15% with AirMiles partners versus the control.

From tests like these, we can deduce at least four key takeaways.

Social media engagement can increase lifetime value

Social media engagement can increase the constituents’ lifetime value with properly identified and messaged campaigns.

Look at the work my friends at Small Act did for a large environmental organization. They worked with the client and leveraged social media to identify those supporters who were Multi-Channel Consumers (one of the Small Act cohorts), and made more than one gift (on or offline) to be recruited into their monthly giving campaign. Smart use of social scoring to augment giving behavior to drive increased donor support!

Score, segment and test your housefile

Score your file with social scoring and test that score as a means to segment interest/loyalty for your organization for increased support

Now onto the real emerging story and that’s mobile. From Blackbaud’s State of the Nonprofit Industry report, we learned that mobile is an exploding channel for nonprofits in the UK, Australia and the USA.

Now are larger nonprofits using mobile for integrated campaigns? Yes they are, often around mobile apps that support a long-term campaign that is augmented by direct mail, email and social. The fact is that the record is to date uneven, to the extent we talk more about failures. Mobile is not yet a channel for integrated marketing as say email is or social is becoming.

Honestly other than disaster relief there is not a lot of money being raised on mobile or through apps.

What we are seeing thanks to the US Postal sponsorship are more QR (Quick Response) codes in campaigns. Now there are many clever uses for QR codes but are they effective at raising large sums of money for any organization –NO!  I am reading about a good many small successes and large failures with QR codes but no great successes. As a tool they are clever with imbedding videos into them or Facebook likes, but more clever than effective.

Avoid shiny object syndrome

Mobile is too early yet as a strong secondary channel for integrated marketing.  Do get your social media, email and direct response channels integrated around messaging, segmentation and sequence then fold into mobile as a stand-alone channel.

If you want to test an idea, try online display ads integrated into your direct response campaigns. The Agitator has covered this topic and as a tactic it displays (sorry) promise to augment response rates for integrated campaigns

Invest in responsive design

Where I am seeing success is with Responsive Design. Responsive design allows your website, email and donation pages to be properly viewed regardless of device (mobile or tablet). Keep in mind that (according to the Knotice study) 36% of email is now read on a mobile device. By utilizing responsive design nonprofits emails, the email can be opened and be properly viewed on any mobile device. And a shout out to my UX genius Misty McLaughlin for convincing me, years ago, of the value of good design for integrated marketing campaigns.

Invest in using responsive design in designing online campaigns to help integrate your supporter’s mobile device so that your emails can be read and responded to in the manner you want them to be. Use mobile to build opens and click through in your email campaign.


Social media is now ready to go as a proven channel for increasing revenue and engagement from your supporters. Mobile is still too early for broad based use as a channel for complex integrated marketing campaigns. Will there be success there? For sure. But not today for most nonprofits.


Dennis McCarthy, Director of Enterprise Sales at Target Analytics a Blackbaud company, has been serving nonprofits for more than 30 years in the design and implementation of integrated marketing solutions; and building and managing technology solutions for some of America’s largest and most complex nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining the Blackbaud team, Dennis managed Convio’s strategic services practice, comprised of consultants in business analytics, design and information architecture, Deployment Services and Agency Services. Prior to Convio, he worked at Epsilon as a general manager and deployed a successful custom CRM solution for a national health care organization with over 50 affiliates. He is married and has a great son who is a senior in college.

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