Coordinated, Thoughtful, Multichannel.
These come from Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing blog post on Mastering Multi-Channel Marketing. If you recently started using online channels such as email or Facebook for fundraising then the entire post is worth a read.
It’s easy in a crisis to look to Facebook or a new website as the answer, but in order to see significant increases in financial support online fundraising efforts must be integrated into the offline efforts.
The danger of online fundraising is that it becomes another place to shout the same message. Instead of coordinating an email fundraising campaign with a direct mail campaign, many people create two separate campaigns, which can fatigue existing donors with the same content and dilute the effectiveness of both channels.
Instead of sending the same financial ask through direct mail and email, consider sending an email before the direct mail piece casting vision and giving a context for the upcoming letter. Include links to either a video or blog post that will allow interested people to explore your ministry further. By using an email service such as Mailchimp you can track how many people open and click on the links, and even if some of those people do not give, you can create a focused and segmented list of people interested in your ministry for future asks.
Desperate, unfocused, overly-urgent online appeals do not go over well. Every day I come across some sort of financial ask, mostly towards international relief efforts of some kind. By not thinking through your online strategy you risk being grouped into this impersonal/urgent/short-term category that potential long-term donors regularly ignore.
Spend extra time thinking about the timing of your online appeals, as well as the content. Often times poor formatting (too much text, lack of clarity in either purpose or needs, no clear link or button to click on to give) can significantly hinder an online appeal.
Online giving will continue to grow–but only those that combine their online and offline communications into an overall strategy will experience significant increases in financial giving. Just being online or cloning every offline appeal using Facebook, Twitter, and email will not multiply your efforts and may lead to losing existing donors from being asked too frequently.