Practical Tips for Multichannel Fundraising

Just because you can do something in every channel doesn’t mean you should. By evaluating data and segmenting donors, you can identify the right channels for the right audiences and coordinate those channels to work together. Think of your campaign as a “choose your own adventure” and consider all the possible ways a donor might engage or decide to take action. Then seek to lead donors down the most intuitive, optimal path, while understanding that each donor’s experience and preferences will be unique.

Here are some examples for how to coordinate channels:

• Enclose a URL in direct mail pieces so donors can respond online. A personal URL can help you track individual online responses for particular campaigns.

• Create custom landing pages for each campaign. Feature content that carries the message through to the next action, rather than just using a generic, pre-existing page. Collect behavioral data on donors’ interests and preferences once they arrive on that landing page.

• Collect email addresses through every response device available. Follow up email address submissions with a thoughtful welcome and provide ways for donors to customize their communication preferences.

• Supplement direct mail with email messages that drive the donor to action strategically. Send emails to direct mail donors and vice versa, remembering that multichannel donors have a higher lifetime value.

• Optimize communications for smartphone reading and action. Consumers are using their smartphones while watching TV, reading email newsletters while standing in grocery store lines, and responding to social media posts throughout the day. Make it easy for them to comment, give, share, or tweet in their moment of inspiration.

• Add “Share This” buttons to content in your emails and on your website to promote posts to Facebook, tweets to Twitter, and sharing via other popular sites. Include pre-populated, sharable content on giving pages so donors can easily tweet or post that they just made a gift and others can too with the provided link.

• Feed comments from social media back into the next “traditional” communication to cross-promote, such as printing a few highlighted tweets or incorporating streaming feeds into website content.

• Send out links to your campaigns and projects via social media to reach broader audiences. Invite prospects to engage with you in these channels by posting questions, incorporating games, conducting surveys, and requesting feedback.

• Identify highly engaged prospects and donors and then prioritize them for phone calls or personal visits. Test to measure their giving results against a control audience.

• Allow constituents to opt into text message programs if this channel is relevant for you.

Measuring the effectiveness of integrated programs is key to constant improvement.From the outset of any campaign, you should record all donor touches—what message is going out in which channel—rather than simply marking which channels a donor uses to respond. Taking time to test and monitor what works will improve the rate of return on each campaign.
Valuable performance indicators include:

• Email opens and click-through rates by individuals
• Rate of response both online and through direct mail
• Length of time between message sends and recipient responses
• Website traffic and other online interaction
• Cross-channel movement, such as direct mail recipients who go online to an
enclosed URL or email recipients who give through a custom landing page

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