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March 13, 2019 Jonathan Steck

Do you ever wonder if direct mail is as effective as it once was?

Do you find it a challenge to keep up with the changes in digital fundraising and social media?

In a recent webinar, we provided an argument as to why, as fundraisers, we shouldn’t be thinking so narrowly. As opposed to a single-channel campaign, a successful multi-channel fundraising strategy can be the spark that lights up your fundraising results, and has the potential to give you more from your print, online, and social media communications, without sacrificing much-needed resources.

Choosing the Right Channel

The goal of multi-channel fundraising is to put the right message in front of the right person (at the right time) and on a communication channel that best appeals to your audience.

Why? Because we don’t all receive messages in the same way. Nor do we consume or view content in the same place. As donors (or potential donors) we are all very different and have our preferences in how we like organizations to communicate with us.

This is the value of analyzing your data, understanding what it’s saying, and then using data to guide your next move.

Timing is Everything

Part of the reason why multi-channel fundraising works so effectively is because your audience is receiving multiple communications with the same message through various channels during a specific time frame.

This is important, because as fundraisers, we can’t assume our donors are receiving and responding to our offers through only one channel.

Plus if someone receives your letter, then visits you online and you are talking about something totally different, it doesn’t feel as if your original ask is really your top priority.

If your letter is scheduled to arrive in mailboxes on say, the 5th day of the month, you need to make sure your website content is primed and ready to go. That includes any homepage banners, donation pages, and popups.

Similarly, if your organization leverages its fundraising through channels such as radio or telemarketing, your scripts and any promotional material should be ready for communication to donors by the 4th.

Testing, Testing . . .

Once you’ve determined the message you want to communicate and when you’ll communicate it, you should always consider testing.

In his book The Rules of Fundraising Doug Shaw suggests, “without testing, we’re just guessing.” And considering the phenomenal results the clients we serve experience because of our rigorous pursuit of testing, this is a recommendation worth considering.

Your digital channels are a great place to test—it’s both cost-effective and informative. Start by testing headlines, email subject lines, or photos to determine what your audience prefers. The intelligence you gather from tests will help inform your future strategies—from acquisition to cultivation.

If you raise the bar on your multi-channel fundraising, even just a little, your organization will likely experience new growth that will allow you to make an even greater impact on the communities you serve.

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