August 19, 2018

Fundraising appeals are facing a new dawn. Many organizations are standing at the proverbial fork in the road as they discuss their strategic objectives and how to translate those objectives into current and future fundraising strategies. Donor growth is the lifeline for any non-profit organization, and financial transparency is synonymous with survival. But if leadership teams are hesitant to explore innovative ways to drive growth based around fear of failure, then it leads to donor attrition, loss of revenue and the ability to solve the social issues that are the very cornerstone of the organizations mission.

So what role does direct mail play in driving donor revenue stream and growth? And what can you do now to maximize return on investment while keeping an eye on growth for the future?

70% of charitable giving came from individuals in 2017, followed by foundations at 15%.

As organizations target their largest revenue stream, Individuals and direct mail play a vital role in fundraising strategies, but no single channel can go at it alone.

The Stats:

The average person is bombarded by close to 3000 marketing message per day. Email and direct mail performance as standalone channels yield abysmal response rates at 0.06% and 5.3% respectively. Put them together as a multi-channel campaign and they make a nice power couple with 27% response rates. Throw in social media and your web presence and that response rate jumps to 37%.

When analyzing your donor engagement strategy, understand that donor revenue growth requires investment and potentially a change in budget. There are innovative technologies that can take your donor engagement and revenue growth to the next level.

But there are steps that can be taken today to optimize your current multi-channel strategy and the role that direct mail plays in it.

Fundraising Appeals Andrew Harrow

Multi-Channel Strategy:

“The reality is that we live in a multi-channel world. Donors are multi-channel and they will continue to engage with nonprofits online and offline. I would argue that online and offline are some artificial distinction that we should stop using,” Steve MacLaughlin, vice president, data and analytics, at Blackbaud, said. The days are gone when an organization can measure the effectiveness of a fundraising campaign and attribute it to a single channel. Case in point, mobile donations now represents 21% of online giving showing an incredible 205% increase from last year. Should you abandon email and direct mail and invest in enhanced mobile capabilities? Absolutely not!

Scenario…your potential donor receives a direct mail postcard with a follow-up email that prompted them to visit your website, watch an engaging patient video and sign up for the local walk/run event. They attend the event and engage with volunteers, pull out their phone and donate on their device. The end result is a mobile donation, but they had a complete multi-channel experience that brought them to the point of giving.

118% – Marketing campaigns that used direct mail and one or more digital media channels experienced 118% lift in response rate compared to using direct mail only.

37% of people who gave to charities online did so because they received a direct mail communication from the charity.

Make sure all your channels are clear and concise with a unified message and call to action. And make it easy to donate on your online platform!

Your Audience:

It is essential to understand the demographic challenges as well as the opportunity that lies within each group. It would be a recipe for failure to market to each generation the same as well as making assumptions about the best engagement strategy and delivery channels.

Fundraising Appeals Know Your Audience

Silent Generation
Has the highest annual average gift of all generations and represents 26% of total giving. They support fewer charities but are loyal through their lifetime. They rely the heaviest on direct mail inspired giving at 52% with online giving coming in at 27%. It would be a mistake to assume that age plays a role in technology acceptance as 70% of adult internet users age 65+ go online daily. Direct mail is the tried and true method with this group but as we outlined earlier, multi-channel strategy yields the highest response rates. Maintain a clear concise multi-channel strategy and make the online experience easy.

Baby Boomers
Control 80% of all financial wealth in the United States accounting for $46 trillion and stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next two decades. They represent the biggest opportunity for nonprofit financial growth for the next 20 years. They answer phone calls, check email daily, use text messaging and social media. 40% of Boomers donated via Direct Mail and 42% via Online. Direct mail is a vital part of driving online giving as 24% gave online based on receiving direct mail communication.

Generation X
is beginning to move up the charitable giving ladder as they move into their 50’s representing 20% of all charitable giving in the United States. They are more willing to donate their time and fundraise on behalf of the cause but it needs to be easy. Research shows that Gen X prefers text messages or voice calls, is current on social media and regularly check emails. Email prompted 31% of online donations from this group and direct mail does play a role in the appeal process. Gen X wants to know how the donation funds are appropriated so make it clear.

Millennials
Now represent the largest group within the population at nearly 26% while representing 11% of total giving. This group provides a great opportunity to help with donor attrition and a relatively untapped market of potential new donor base for future long term growth as they replace the Silent Generation. Millennials grew up in the digital age and are active on mobile devices, rarely check email, and surprisingly are very responsive to direct mail holding a 12% response rate, nearly double the national average. They actually prefer to opt-in to promotions choosing postal delivery 90% of the time.

Understanding the role that each group plays is key to engaging them across the platforms that they desire, but get out there and A/B test with more personalized messaging utilizing the data you already have.

Optimize your Marketing Supply Chain:

Once you have achieved results from maximizing your current strategy across all platforms, it is time to concentrate your efforts on donor growth for the future. Growth strategies require investment and marketing is handcuffed from the start. Asking for more money is often times a non-starter and the penalty for failure can be devastating to an organization with so much focus on transparency and where the donors money is spent.

So how do you find the money to target donor engagement strategies while ensuring the most efficient administrative and fundraising budgets to your donors? The answer typically is lying in your current marketing spend.

Over 60% of marketing executives have not analyzed their marketing supply chain in the past 5 years if at all. There is a tremendous potential for your organization to liberate savings while providing full transparency and compliance.

We help marketing organizations achieve donor revenue growth, cost reduction and transparency through the optimization of their marketing supply chain. With an average cost reduction of 20% we give organizations the opportunity to identify areas of waste and invest in growth. Connect with me to learn more.

Supercharge Your Fundraising Appeals Using Multi-Channel Media was authored by Andrew Harrow of Drummond Press.

[email protected]

Helping Marketing Organizations: Assess, Optimize and Invest in Growth

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