Fundraising in the digital age has created immense opportunities to engage with donors in ways we couldn’t imagine a decade or two ago.
Far from signalling the demise of direct mail, as many predicted, digital fundraising has complemented direct mail messaging to deliver some powerful results. And when fundraisers share their message across a range of traditional and digital channels through a truly integrated fundraising campaign, it can be a game-changer.
The beauty of integrated fundraising is that it can do far more than deliver exceptional returns and heightened awareness.
When executed strategically, this kind of fundraising can strengthen the donor relationship by engaging donors through multiple levels of interaction via different forms of communication.
SO, WHAT CONSTITUTES A TRULY INTEGRATED FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN?
Is it enough to simply deliver a multi-channel campaign across the print and digital spaces and other platforms like telemarketing?
Far from it.
A multi-channel fundraising campaign is simply that: a campaign delivered across various platforms. An integrated fundraising campaign, on the other hand, is a single campaign with consistent donor-centric messaging that is communicated via a range of platforms.
Consistency of messaging is at the core of integrated fundraising. It’s about having a single-minded proposition and a single, compelling call to action across all platforms.
One of the greatest barriers to success is a disconnect between the print and digital communications. This is more likely to occur if organisations employ different teams or agencies to deliver different aspects of the campaign. Using the same creative pool to develop the copy/content and design ensures continuity of messaging and a more seamless execution of assets across all channels.
Of course, the strategy that sits behind such a campaign can be quite complex. It demands meticulous planning of the timing of every activity across each channel. It also requires a cause and effect mindset: what donor activity – or inactivity – will trigger what action and what communication across which platforms?
This can mean something as simple as sending a reminder EDM to a donor who has not made a gift to the campaign.
Depending on the sophistication of the Customer Communications Management (CCM) platform, it could also trigger follow-up SMS messaging, a telemarketing call or a new round of email messaging.
Another critical element to the success of these campaigns is the data source. A well managed database can make or break such a campaign.
It’s a lot to juggle! But when the strategy is right and all the elements of the campaign come together in a cohesive way, the results can be very impressive indeed.
One of the greatest barriers to success is a disconnect between the print and digital communications.
THE RESULTS ARE IN
We recently worked with a charity to deliver their first multi-channel fundraising campaign.
The goal was to raise $500,000 and to increase brand awareness via online and offline channels.
While direct mail and EDM remained the cornerstone of this annual appeal, these channels were complimented by outdoor and online/digital campaigns.
The non-direct mail/EDM channels affordedmultiple touchpoints with existing supporters and prospects through channels such as YouTube and Facebook, and via street furniture including bus shelters, retail space and roadside locations. This campaign was also used as a testing ground to acquire donors in a younger demographic.
Acquisition channels included traditional direct mail, a self-mailer in a member-based magazine and an unaddressed self-mailer via Australia Post. While each channel required a different approach, the strategy was to bring all together with the same high-impact messaging, imagery and call to action.
To kickstart the campaign, the organisation developed a 15-second YouTube video. Those people who interacted with the YouTube video were then retargeted with an ad that drove the display campaign.
Direct mail and digital communications were rolled out… and the donations began to roll in.
The result of taking a unified message to market? The direct mail campaign outperformed its target by more than $120,000.
The response rate from warm donors was 22.26% – more than double the previous year – and some 430 plus lapsed donors were reactivated (almost 90% up on the previous year) and 33 donors converted to regular giving.
The acquisition strategies delivered 300 new donors with an average gift of $101. Online donations were up by more than $50,000 during the life of the campaign and phone donations more than doubled during the same period. During the outdoor and digital campaigns, the organisation also received more than $115,000 from various channels including tracked income from social, search, display and email.
The key takeaways from this campaign and others like it? Integrated fundraising works when the message is consistent, the call to action is compelling… and you are working from a well-managed database.
A co-founder of the Precision Group, Cory has broad industry expertise that sets him apart in the direct mail sector. He is equally at home drilling down on donor data and strategic campaign plans as he is on the manufacturing floor. Cory is a member of the Fundraising Institute Australia Victoria Committee and invests heavily in sponsoring professional development opportunities for fundraisers.