The most successful and robust fundraising programs are ones that: 1) create an engaging experience through multiple channels and 2) build a relationship with donors both online and offline.
With many direct mail donors turning to online channels that offer fast and secure payment processors, direct mail is considered one of the largest drivers for online donations. Most studies show that one of the top five reasons a donor gives an online gift is because they are prompted by a direct mail appeal. We have also found that donors who receive communications across multiple touch-points respond with more gifts throughout the year and contribute more revenue overall than donors who only receive siloed communications.
Let’s take a look at how to most effectively engage your donors with multichannel, consistent messaging.
Direct & Digital: Working Side by Side
In order to effectively engage your donors and pool of prospects, it is necessary to integrate these channels with consistent messaging. Today, fundraisers need to always work on improving the donation interface online, methods for collecting email addresses, and strategies to integrate messaging alongside a robust and thoughtful direct mail program.
The direct mail and digital departments need to work side-by-side to develop annual strategies that integrate the direct mail theme, style, design, and messaging with a corresponding email to a list of donors with email addresses.
For example, a direct mail appeal launches in August with a matching gift theme. A corresponding email should be sent to direct mail donors so it hits inboxes around the same time the direct mail hits mailboxes.
Coupling Online Messaging with Internal Marketing Campaigns
Most campaigns would also incorporate website components, such as tailored donation forms, landing pages, and website lightboxes, social media organic posts and paid ads, and displayed ads retargeting your audience. This allows for consistent branding and messaging across all platforms, emphasizing your mission and campaign goal.
In addition, you should always integrate the online fundraising messaging with internal marketing campaigns. Your audience may not notice the difference between a fundraising appeal, cultivation email, or marketing email — all they see is the your brand name in their inbox — so it’s important to work closely with internal teams to keep designs, copywriting style, and stories consistent.
Case Study — Inner-City Scholarship Fund (Inner-city)
History: Inner-City has partnered with FNY for over 8 years, integrating and enhancing their fundraising programs across mail and online. We have identified campaigns that perform well in each channel to integrate communications, convert new donors, upgrade current donors, grow their monthly donor program, and engage their online audiences.
Campaign Samples: In February, we mailed a certificate of appreciation to thank donors. We also wanted to cultivate donors online and thank online-only donors who didn’t receive the mail. We brainstormed unique online premiums that will encourage engagement, such as desktop wallpapers, quizzes, etc.
We designed shareable social media graphics that were then embedded on a landing page with a donation form. The email drove donors to the site where they could share their support of Inner-City on social channels, and include a gift if they’d like.
Following Up: At year-end, we also integrated emails with the mail messaging and drove further engagement and re-marketing with paid advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other channels like Pandora and the New York Times. We often test different creative, messaging, and audiences to drive the best results with the end goals of conversions, email acquisition, and social engagement.