February 2, 2018 Aubrey Hoeppner

Gone are the days when a successful growth strategy can rely solely on acquiring new donors through a single channel, like direct mail or radio or television. Now potential donors are consuming information multiple ways and your organization needs to be present in the places they spend their time.

As you develop your acquisition communications mix, keep in mind the advantages of each channel.

Direct mail acquisition is going to be your workhorse in terms of volume. One medium-sized organization we work with is finding 15,000 new donors annually through print acquisition—more than half of all their new donors.

Renting a mailing list can find you more prospects within your target audience, and when used in conjunction with data modeling can be even more precise in identifying potential donors. The results allow you to mail smarter. A physical piece of mail is harder to ignore than a web ad or billboard, so you’re generally going to see a higher response rate with print.

But digital acquisition offers you the opportunity to start right away and at a low cost. Digital acquisition allows your organization to put a message in front of potential donors without the expense of list rental and printing costs. This means almost any organization with any budget can get started acquiring donors online.

You can actually break even with digital acquisition, too. In fact, in 2016 our digital campaigns had an ROI of $3.47 and an average gift of $97.50!

Regardless of Your Mix of Channels, Keep these Keys in Mind:

  • Your messaging throughout all channels must be consistent. Don’t confuse the people you are trying to win over.
  • Remember your target audience. Most of us are still trying to attract that 55+ year-old female (even digitally)!
  • Test, test, test. And use your channels to help you learn. Since digital is a less expensive medium, test online messages before rolling them into a larger campaign that includes more costly mediums. Then test again to see whether learnings from one channel apply to others.
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