The fundraising landscape is constantly changing, and new technology is making it easier than ever before to connect with donors regarding fundraising and other engagement opportunities. And this is not just true for a single communications channel, but for all messaging avenues.
Here’s what you need to know to continually improve upon your strategy and make the most of every fundraising channel available to you.
There are a ton of ways that fundraising organizations can engage with their existing and prospective donors, and an effective nonprofit fundraising strategy should encompass multiple, if not all, possible channels for optimal results. The more ways you can engage with your audience, the more likely your message is to break through the clutter and stand out to its intended recipients.
Each marketing channel comes with its own unique set of pros and cons, and coordinating your efforts together enables you to best inform your supporters about upcoming giving campaigns, matching gifts, fundraising, event opportunities, and more.
How can you get in touch with your donors? Just about any way you could send a message to a friend. This includes (but is not limited to) the following marketing avenues;
Your organization’s website is a critical part of your marketing and fundraising strategy, and it’s likely where supporters go to learn more about your cause and how to get involved. Sharing information about upcoming campaigns and online donation opportunities on your website is essential, and you’ll want to include a link to the site from additional channels as well (such as email and text).
Email is one of the most popular channels for sending fundraising appeals—and that’s for a good reason. Studies show that over 92% of the U.S. population is reported to use email as a form of communication. It’s a cost-effective way to send direct messages to expansive audiences and can even be automatically personalized to ensure your email messaging stands out even more.
Aside from face-to-face communications, phone conversations are about as personal as you can get when it comes to engaging with your donors. That’s why phonathon fundraisers can be so effective for a wide range of causes—they drive results! And if you don’t have the internal workforce to dedicate to a calling campaign, you can even outsource your phone fundraising to an expert team of third-party callers.
Not everybody likes to talk on the phone, and others might not have time for a phone conversation. For people who fall into those groups, SMS text messaging can be a great alternative or addition to your strategy. Not to mention, marketing statistics indicate that text campaigns can have open rates of up to 98%, meaning it’s a great way to get your fundraising message read.
Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more are easy and effective ways to blast out generalized messaging to expansive audiences. Plus, these platforms also lend themselves to high levels of engagement and shareability, enabling organizations to reach beyond their own networks as well. And it’s effective, too, because fundraising research reports that 39% of Millennials and 33% of Gen X are most inspired to give through social media than any other channel.
Finally, there are traditional direct mailings to consider. Although it’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, direct mail can lead to impactful results when done well and may incorporate a combination of personalized handwritten and printed letters, packets and inserts, postcards, and more.
Once you have the channels you’ll utilize in your toolbelt, it’s time to consider how you’ll optimize your fundraising campaign to get the biggest bang for your buck. Consider implementing the following tried-and-true tips to do so!
Segmenting your fundraising approach is a strategic way to ensure each individual is engaged in the most effective way possible. This can be done using key qualities to divide donors and other supporters into groups of similar or like-minded individuals. Common categories include age, gender, location, giving history, and even workplace giving eligibility.
However, you’ll want to avoid falling prey to common fundraising myths, such as the idea that direct mail is only for older audiences while texting is only for younger ones. Instead, you’ll want to take a multi-channel approach for all donors while giving priority to an individual’s preferred methods of communication and other distinguishing characteristics.
Addressing a fundraising request by name to the person receiving it can go a long way toward establishing rapport and building connections. It will also make your messaging stand out in a supporter’s inbox, leading to an increased likelihood that the individual will open and respond to your appeal in the intended manner.
Other personal details you can leverage to further personalize your messaging might include previous engagement history, such as a last donation, event attended, or volunteer task completed.
Your multi-channel fundraising strategy doesn’t have to be exclusive to donation requests, either. In fact, we recommend marketing matching gift program opportunities using every marketing channel at your organization’s disposal—and integrating matching gift promotions into your overall multi-channel approach can be an excellent way to do it.
For optimal results, it’s a good idea to include matching gift information in your fundraising appeals (top tip: mentioning matching gifts in donation appeals results in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in average donation amount), social postings, fundraising emails, post-transaction communications, and more. Plus, you’ll want to ensure matching programs are highlighted prominently across your organization’s website—including with a dedicated matching gift web page, within your “ways to give” page, and on your site navigation.
One of the most essential prerequisites for effective donation solicitations is having the right data to support your messaging. Thus, as you establish and roll out your multi-channel fundraising approach, it’s important that you take the time and have the tools in place to collect the right data points to inform your strategy going forward.
For example, you’ll want to take a look at your donors’ responses across multiple communications avenues to determine which efforts are driving the greatest results. Let’s say your text messages are seeing high open and conversion rates while your email messages seem to be lagging behind. Having that context, you can know to adjust your email strategy (perhaps switching up subject lines, incorporating imagery, or increasing personalization) to grow your success.
Multi-channel fundraising strategies can go a long way.
Interested in learning more about how personalization and diversification of fundraising channels can impact giving and engagement results?
Register to attend our joint webinar with Double the Donation and Shift Fundraising on the topic here.