Monthly Giving at Year-End: How to leverage integrated marketing

Sitting down to write this post I’ll make the following assumptions, that you know and have  a monthly giving program as part of your fundraising initiatives. That you know what integrated marketing is and have implemented Integrated Marketing best practices this for appeals, renewals, advocacy and even volunteer recruitment.

If either of those two statements is not correct then before you read on do read “Hidden Gold” by Harvey McKinnon, and follow the Integrated Marketing Advisory Board’s blog for two good sources of directional guidance.

So what are some of the constructs for an optimal monthly giving program at year end?

  • Audience: there are many good sources of monthly donors on your  fundraising database. Look to people who have made several gifts in the past twelve months. Look to advocates who just taken their first online action for you or have taken less than five actions (do test this for your organization) in the past year. Look to new supporters who made their last gift to you in the past 90 days. Look to supporters who have purchased an e-card or goods at your e-commerce store. And of course the monthly donors who have lapsed are a good test segment as well.Do test asking your current monthly donors to upgrade their support. I support one nonprofit as a monthly donor and they’ve never asked me for more money in three years! So do ask.If you have tested all these segments before with limited success then test Target Analytics “Loyalty insights.” There has been  success in identifying prospects for monthly giving using this tool.

    All of these audiences should be tested if quantities suffice so you that limit your risk as each nonprofit is different from the next nonprofit and your experience will not be the same as another organization.

  • Message: Having read Katya Andresen’s (@katyaN4G) blog daily, she often writes about the value of storytelling for nonprofits and a need to be authentic with your donors. So do engage your supporters with how their ongoing support will make a difference. How does their $15 or $125/month address your mission; where is the impact.Do marry your message across channels at least thematically and if possible graphically.If you need inspiration for a great online campaign and use of video, check out this charity: water fundraising campaign.  While there is only one charity: water but each organization can use video to post on your web site during year end, in your display advertisement or in an email to move people to your mission. Be real, be engaging and be relevant – then ongoing support makes total sense.
  • Channels: The two primary channels are direct mail and email; with the secondary ones of telemarketing and social media. Let’s cover each very briefly.
    • Direct mail: if your supporter gave/communicated with you via postal mail, then their primary channel is direct mail. Hence if they’ve engaged you via email then they are emailed as a primary channel.
    • Email: If you have an active email address for the supporter then do email them. IF you have both then my preference is send them direct mail as the response rates are higher. Do use email prior to the postal mail arriving at their house to drive awareness.
    • Telemarketing: This channel is to be used only for those supporters who do not respond to either the direct mail or e-mail solicitations. Do map the script to your campaign theme and suppress respondents from your prior efforts. This channel is by far the most successful in acquiring new monthly donors.
    • Social: use Twitter, your nonprofit’s blog and Facebook to tell the story about the campaign and update them with progress towards meeting the campaign’s fundraising goal. Update frequently, be lively and be relevant.
    • Integration: For those supporters for whom you have both a postal address and email address, and they respond via direct mail – start with email(s) announcing the campaign prior to the postal mail arriving. Then send an email(s) as you approach year end and in the last week of December telemarketing to the non-responders for whom you have a telephone number.For those supporters best contacted via email, a series of emails up to five or six emails set as a story with regular updates on reasons to give (think video), campaign updates. Again near end of December use telemarketing to leverage response rate.
  • The end: A good deal has been written lately about thanking your donors for their support. When a person makes a monthly donation, you should thank them. The thank you should be authentic to your nonprofit. Rank order the thank you by the amount of the gift and the time and resources you have to thank them; the thank you can be everything from a note card, to a call from a volunteer or staff person to a really personal email all works. Here’s emphatically what does not work – generic auto responder, a post card that was sent bulk with no gift amount.

I have both covered a lot and yet missed so much that was not covered in this post. If you have questions or comments do send them along and I do promise a response and a proper thank you.