From 10NTC: 7 Key Lessons for Integrated Multichannel Fundraising

Multichannel is the word du jour during the NTC conference in Atlanta @10NTC, but what considerations should nonprofits make before launching the next big campaign? Megan Hawkes @CCCINews, Executive Director, Constituent Engagement at Campus Crusade for Christ, International and Dave Raley @daveraley, Director of New Media at Masterworks presented the session Case Studies in Integrated Multichannel Fundraising and did a great job of answering that question in a series of 7 lessons.

Lesson #1: Don’t forget the importance of fundraising fundamentals
Organizations need a good offer, the compelling message, the right audience, and it must be timely and relevant. One of the many great points Dave made was that donors do not give to the need; they give to the impact.  So instead of asking for funds that support your need of shipping medical supplies or purchasing construction materials, focus on the impact of saving millions of lives or providing homes for hundreds of families.

Lesson #2: Pizzazz does not equal integration
Focus on what is useful, powerful and engaging. Sometimes technology can get in the way of good integration if too much emphasis is places on the features. Widgets, Flash animation, and/or abstract creative pieces can get in the way.

Lesson #3: Integrate instead of recreating – synergize what you’re already doing.
Don’t be afraid to reuse creative. Just because you’ve seen it a million times and tired of it doesn’t mean your constituency feels the same way. Once you’ve created the core content each additional piece is easier and more efficient, and actually makes it more impactful. The more times a consistent message gets in front of your audience the better — reinforces brand recognition. They also stressed the importance of integrated teams. If your development team and communication team isn’t on the same page you run the risk of duplicating effort, competing goals and priorities and confusing or diluting your brand and message.

Lesson #4: Not all channels are created equal
They broke down three different types of channels: Response vs influence vs engagement.

  • Response channels drive direct measureable response and are proven methods to get results including direct mail, email and telephone.
  • Influence channels influence response but not in a directly attributable way such as radio, banner advertising and print.
  • Engagement channel are great at engaging and interacting, but less response driven such as social media and customer service.

Lesson #5: Measure results by campaign, not just by channel
In an integrated multichannel campaign, define your primary goal up front and determine which channels will get you there. If you the goal is direct response then your focus will be on the response channels mentioned above and you might put less emphasis on social media since that is more of an engagement mechanism. It’s important to know which channels are providing results, but we can get stuck in the granularity of channel metrics and the bigger goal takes a back seat.

Lesson #6: Use video but test
I’ve heard this statistic multiple times at NTC – YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google. People love videos, and there has been a shift — we no longer think in words we think in pictures. That being said video does cost time and effort so be sure to test what works for you. Try various formats and styles, test length, test if there is no video at all, do you still get the same results? And an important note, you actually have to promote your video to get it seen.

Lesson #7: Don’t forget about relationships
In any integrated effort you typically have the communications team focused on the relationship and the development team focused on donor value. But the central truth in constituent engagement is you have to be balanced in those efforts to be effective. If your organization is always focused on the ask your risk donor burnout, but conversely if you’re always focused on the relationship and never make the ask, your risk rustout.