Understanding the Value of Multi-Channel Fundraising | npENGAGE

Understanding the Value of Multi-Channel Fundraising

By on Mar 19, 2009


Originally posted on the Nonprofit Strategies blog by Andrew Olsen of Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

 Multi-channel fundraising.  Many nonprofits are doing this, and doing it well.  But thousands still aren’t.  Some have a long history of successful direct mail programs, but little to speak of in the way of Internet fundraising.  Or maybe there’s an Internet fundraising program — but it’s entirely separate from and unique to the direct mail program.

The results however, are crystal clear.  Integrating your direct mail and online fundraising programs can yield significant increases in overall revenue.

It did for us.  Here’s a sample of our 2008 year-end campaign.

In December of 2008 we conducted our typical year-end direct mail campaign.  However, we added an e-mail component as well.  Our direct mail dropped the last week of November, and our e-mails began dropping the first week of December.

The e-mail campaign proved to be a very valuable suplement to our traditionally single-channel marketing efforts.

Adding the online channel helped us raise 40% more revenue at year-end than we would have if we had only used direct mail.

In addition to increasing our overall revenue, the multi-channel approach allowed us to reach donors that we otherwise might not have been able to get to.  We received a batch of gifts in the mail (checks that came in the year-end direct mail envelopes), but instead of receiving direct mail reply devices with these gifts, the envelopes included printed copies of our e-mail solicitation.  These gifts totaled almost $10,000.

One of the things we’ve put significant energy and focus into (and I recommend you do the same) is to ensure that your online and offline efforts are fully integrated.  Consistent messaging, creative and offers will help create a synergy between your marketing channels and likely create an overall lift in your program performance.

Here’s another interesting fact that might help you better understand the value of multi-channel communication to your constituents.  We just tabulated results from an eight month period of time for two sets of donors:  one group that was not receiving our e-communications (control), and another group that was receiving our e-communications on a regular basis (test).

Over that eight month period, donors receiving our e-mail communications performed significantly higher (across all channels — this was not limited to online giving).   The test group made contributions 9% more frequently than did the control group, and their average gift size was 118% larger than the control group.

These are interesting findings that most certainly lead to more questions than they do answers.  We’re currently running additional analysis — I’ll post those results once they are complete.
In the meantime, I’ll be speaking on this and other related topics on March 26 at a webinar hosted by Convio.  I’m fortunate enough to co-present with a very talented Internet fundraiser – – Vivek Venugopal of Northwestern Memorial Foundation.  You can use the registration button below to reserve a space at this event if you’d like to attend and hear more about online fundraising challenges and rewards in the health care sector. 


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