Breaking Through the Noise to Capture Your Donors Attention
We live in a noisy world full of messages vying to capture our attention!
Perhaps you are reading this article while the television is playing in the background, the ding of incoming emails is faintly heard on your nearby laptop, and your mobile phone is alerting you about your text messages and social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, and SnapChat. All of them competing for your attention.
Donors live in a multi-channel world with multiple ways to communicate. But despite all of the communication channels, it has become increasingly more difficult to cut through the clutter. In today’s competitive landscape for fundraising dollars, we must learn how to break through the noise and inspire a response from donors.
Fundraising has evolved over the last few decades. Thirty years ago, you would gather names and addresses and send mail to receive donations. Then about fifteen years ago, you started asking for email addresses. Today you ask for names, addresses, emails, Likes, Follows, shares, SMS phone numbers, etc. The ways we communicate and engage with people now have multiplied.
This is why multi-channel fundraising or integrated fundraising is crucial. What is that, you may ask? Simply it is the use of multiple channels to raise money.
It is important we use every channel at our disposal — direct mail, social media, phone calls, display ads, Google AdWords, emails, and even face-to-face. Each channel brings value and can work together to generate an overall lift in donation revenue. And don’t think any of the channels are no longer effective. For example, social media experts and digital marketers would like you to believe that direct mail has gone the way of the dinosaurs. But don’t be deceived by these false claims about the relevance of direct mail in today’s modern world of communication. Direct mail is alive and well and should be a part of most fundraising plans.
Perhaps you are not convinced of the power of social media to help with your fundraising efforts. Look no further than the Ice Bucket Challenge of a few years ago, which raised over $200 million worldwide. A key driver of donations was Facebook, where millions of users uploaded their challenge videos. Social media is a powerful tool that can amplify your message and introduce you to a whole new audience of people.
Effective multi-channel fundraising requires alignment, coordination, and careful planning across all channels — traditional and digital. Here are a few tips to make the most of your multi-channel fundraising efforts:
- Single message but multiple channels It is important to present the same message across the different channels. Of course, the message will need to be modified to fit the channel, but it should have the same general theme. A donor reading a direct mail letter should see the same message being conveyed in Facebook posts and through web banners on the website.
- Make it easy for donors to cross channels Multi-channel communication gives your donors options of how to view and interact with your organization’s message. Also, it gives the donor the freedom to decide how they want to respond. For one of our direct mail clients we added an 800# and a special URL to the direct mail package, giving the donor multiple ways to respond. As a result, the response rate, average gift, and total revenue increased!
- Ask donors their preferences You may have a donor’s phone number, address, and email address, but it is always good to allow the donor to indicate which is their preferred method of communication. The donor may prefer you write him/her, but they could decide to respond online.
- Utilize the low-cost communication channels for follow-up It can be expensive to send follow-up letters, but you can easily send follow-up emails, text messages, and social media posts to donors to give them a gentle reminder their help is needed. We normally will send a follow-up email to donors who did not open the first email. This simple email resend strategy generally produces 30 – 40% in additional revenue.
Technology has changed the way we communicate and engage donors. By strategically coordinating and aligning your message through multi-channel fundraising, you can increase your engagement with donors and help raise more money for your organization today!
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