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April 24, 2009

Do you know where your checkbook is?

Summary:

Make it easier for your supporters to donate in the way that works for them by integrating your fundraising efforts.

Small changes to your homepage can help improve returns from your direct mail campaigns.

Integrated marketing, or integrated fundraising for the nonprofit sector, is a really hot topic. However with limited time and resources it is still incredibly challenging to take a great theory and implement it in your day to day fundraising campaigns. Here is one quick idea you can use to integrate your direct mail and online fundraising channels no matter how pressed for time you are.

Donors want to give to you via the channel that is most convenient for them and its your job to make that possible. Consumer habitats are changing, Jeff and I were recently talking about multichannel giving, and I had to confess that on any given day I don’t really know where my check book is. My organizational skills aside, that means that even if I am inspired by a particular direct mail piece I’m more likely to look up an organizations website and give online then to write a check.  

My advice is to place a small ad on your homepage that uses similar art work and language to your direct mail pieces. That way when someone, like me, comes to your homepage looking to donate in response to a direct mail piece they will know exactly where to click to donate. We are now in the process of testing this with a number of clients and the early results are very positive. A couple of organization that are already putting this technique to good use are www.sierraclub.org and www.defenders.org.

Often the first thing I get asked when I make this suggestion to a new client is “Won’t this just cannibalize my direct mail response?” No it won’t! Over the years a mounting body of research has shown that communicating to your donors via multiple channels increases their annual and life time value to the organization. More significantly converting a single channel donor (online, phone, or offline) to a multiple channel donor also increases the value of that donor to your organization. Far from “cannibalizing your direct mail results” by making it easy for your supporters to donate to you in the way that is easiest for them you’ll increase the total dollars you raise across all channels.

For more info on multi-channel and integrated fundraising check out this great case study on the ASPCA compiled by Convio and StrategicOne: http://www.strategic-one.com/Integrated_Marketing_White_Paper.pdf

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