3 min read

Integrating multichannel communications will improve your fundraising results. Here are three tips to make that happen.

It’s a proven fact that nonprofits that create a multi-channel experience by integrating digital outreach and direct mail are more likely to increase donor retention and improve total giving per donor.

One example of this is from our friends at NextAfter. They found in one of their studies that…

  1. Donors who got both direct mail and email saw a 60.5% lift in response rate in the mail compared to the mail-only group. The multichannel audience had a 23.9% response rate, compared to 14.9% for mail only.
  2. Donors who got just emails had a 90.6% lower response rate in the mail than the mail-only group. This audience had just a 1.4% response rate.
  3. People who got the multichannel treatment were also more likely to give online too. That meant that the worst option was to send people only email.
  4. And from another supporting study donors who receive emails give roughly 25% more annually than those who get only direct mail.

It is clear that when donors are given multiple opportunities to engage and interact with an organization across multiple channels, including email, social media, direct mail, events, and even volunteering that they build a much deeper and more meaningful relationship that ultimately improves fundraising results.

The bottom line is, every opportunity a donor has to interact with an organization, regardless of the channel, will increase their lifetime value and the likelihood of becoming a life-long advocate.

Here are three simple ways to more effectively integrate digital and direct mail.

ONE: Create a thematic calendar that unifies the messaging, fundraising offer, and story across all the channels.
Build this calendar (for a week, month or whatever timeframe works for you) so that it outlines specifically the story that will be told and how it will be told on each of the channels. Include direction for the story itself, the images used, and what the calls to action will be. Link all the outreach efforts together and deploy them systematically to support each effort—send emails a few days before and after the direct mail arrives in home, begin posting on social media as soon as the direct mail drops, and adjust the home page on the website and donation page to reflect the same message.

TWO: Connect the integrated program with the appropriate tracking mechanisms so that the donor behavior can be tracked and used for more effective communication in the future.
First and foremost, set up unique URLs for donation and other landing pages so that traffic to these pages can be attributed back to specific social media or email hyperlinks. Additionally, add special URLs to the direct mail that help drive people to specific landing pages as well. By setting up the backend tracking methodology, and ensuring it is sync’d with both your email platform and CRM database, you will be able to track and react to donor behavior more effectively.

THREE: Adopt a focused outreach that has the appropriate velocity and frequency. It is very important to provide enough opportunities for donors to interact.
When integrating channels many organizations become concerned, they might “over-communicate.” The reality is that the donor has a much higher tolerance than we give them credit for. Yes, we need to find the right balance and ensure we are providing the right message, at the right time. But if the frequency and velocity of the outreach isn’t enough two things can happen: first, everything may go unnoticed because we simply didn’t get in front of the donor (timing was off, they don’t check their emails on the day you sent it, etc.) or two, the donor does not pick up on any sense of urgency.

These are just a couple of the ways you can begin taking a more focused and strategic approach to your digital and direct mail integration efforts—and ultimately drive your response rates and revenue!


To learn more about integrated direct response fundraising, join Iain Bernhoft and Stephanie Walker for a free "Scotch Talk" on donor communications and digital fundraising on Thursday, June 17th at 4:00pm EDT. You can register for free here. You can also register for a free webinar with Eric Streiff and Mark Diggs on June 24th at 4:00pm EDT.


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