Multichannel Fundraising Trends: What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know
Increase fundraising response with omnichannel marketing, cross-channel coordination for nonprofit marketing & giving campaigns.
May 21, 2019
In today's fast-paced digital world, nonprofits and charities face increasing pressure to attract and retain donors. As a result, multichannel fundraising has become a popular approach to fundraising, combining different mediums, such as email, social media, direct mail, and more, to reach donors where they are and increase response rates. By leveraging multichannel fundraising, organizations can tailor their messaging to each donor's preferences and behavior, resulting in higher engagement and, ultimately, more donations. This article will explore the latest multichannel fundraising trends to help your organization increase its response rates and achieve your fundraising goals.
What is Multichannel Fundraising?
Multichannel fundraising involves using multiple channels, such as email, direct mail, social media, and websites, to engage with potential donors and solicit their support. This approach is becoming increasingly popular among fundraisers, offering numerous benefits over traditional fundraising methods.
These channels may include direct mail, email, social media, telephone, events, and other digital marketing tactics such as search engine advertising or online fundraising platforms.
Multichannel fundraising aims to create a cohesive and integrated fundraising approach that allows donors to interact with the organization in the most convenient and appealing way, thereby increasing the likelihood of generating donations.
By leveraging multiple channels, nonprofits can reach a broader audience, engage donors in different ways, and build stronger relationships with supporters.
Importance of Multichannel Fundraising
The importance of multichannel fundraising cannot be overstated. As technology evolves, nonprofits and charitable organizations must embrace new communication channels to stay relevant and competitive. Moreover, donors today are more sophisticated and expect a more personalized and engaging experience. Organizations that fail to meet these expectations risk losing donors to competitors who do.
Multichannel fundraising also makes organizations more agile and adaptable to changing circumstances. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations had to pivot to virtual fundraising events and online campaigns. Those already embracing multichannel fundraising were better equipped to make the transition quickly and effectively.
Donor Journey: Key to Effective Multichannel Fundraising
The donor journey is the process that donors go through when considering making a donation to a nonprofit organization. This journey includes several stages, each with challenges and opportunities for nonprofits to engage and cultivate donors. Understanding the donor journey is crucial for effective multichannel fundraising.
The first stage of the donor journey is awareness, where donors become aware of a nonprofit's mission and activities. Multichannel fundraising allows nonprofits to use various channels, such as social media, email, and direct mail, to raise awareness and capture the donor's attention.
The next stage is consideration, where the donor evaluates the nonprofit and
decides whether to support it. Multichannel fundraising enables nonprofits to provide transparent information and engage donors through targeted communications, increasing the likelihood of donors choosing to support the organization.
The donation is the third stage, where donors contribute to the nonprofit. Multichannel fundraising makes the donation process easy and convenient, increasing the chances of donors completing the donation.
After making a donation, donors enter the retention stage, where nonprofits must maintain a strong relationship with donors and keep them engaged. Multichannel fundraising allows nonprofits to use personalized communications and updates to build trust and loyalty.
Finally, the advocacy stage is where donors become ambassadors for the nonprofit. Multichannel fundraising can enable nonprofits to leverage social media and other channels to amplify donor advocacy efforts.
Understanding the donor journey is crucial for effective multichannel fundraising. By using various channels to engage donors at each stage of the journey, nonprofits can build strong relationships with supporters and achieve their fundraising goals.
Benefits of Direct Multichannel Fundraising
Direct marketing multichannel fundraising is a fundraising approach that leverages multiple channels to engage with potential donors and solicit their support. Here are some benefits of using direct multichannel fundraising:
- Wider Audience Reach
Organizations can reach a broader audience through multiple channels such as direct mail, email, social media, and websites. This approach allows fundraisers to connect with potential donors who may not have otherwise known about their cause or organization.
Direct Multichannel fundraising enables fundraisers to tailor their messaging to specific groups of individuals based on their interests, age, location, or other demographic factors. This approach helps organizations communicate more effectively and engage potential donors more personally.
Direct Multichannel fundraising can establish a more robust and lasting relationship with supporters by engaging donors across multiple channels. Organizations can use the data they gather from each channel to track their donors' engagement and giving patterns. This data helps organizations to create targeted fundraising appeals that are more likely to resonate with donors, increasing the chances of repeat donations.
Direct Multichannel fundraising has been shown to increase fundraising outcomes. Organizations that use multiple channels to engage with donors tend to raise more money and receive more donations than those that rely on a single channel.
Direct Multichannel Fundraising creates a better donor experience. Organizations can give donors more options for engaging with their cause by providing donors with various communication channels. Donors can choose the best channels for them and engage on their terms. This approach helps to build stronger relationships between organizations and their donors.
Examples of Multichannel Fundraising
Multichannel fundraising is a strategy that involves using multiple mediums to reach donors and increase response rates. Here are some examples of multichannel fundraising:
- Email campaigns with personalized donation pages and social media promotion.
- Direct mail appeals with follow-up phone calls and text messages.
- Social media campaigns with email follow-ups and targeted ads.
- Crowdfunding campaigns with promotion on social media and email newsletters.
- Online auctions with email and social media promotion.
- Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns with social media sharing and email follow-ups.
- Giving days with email, social media, and SMS promotion.
- Donor stewardship campaigns with personalized videos, thank-you notes, and follow-up phone calls.
- Matching gift campaigns with email and social media promotion.
- Major gift campaigns with personalized letters, phone calls, and in-person meetings.
- By combining these channels, nonprofits can reach donors in various ways and increase the chances of securing donations.
There are numerous examples of successful multichannel fundraising campaigns. Here are some real-life examples of multichannel fundraising campaigns:
- American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event combines online fundraising, social media, email, and direct mail to raise funds for cancer research.
- Another example is the ALS Association's Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral on social media and raised over $220 million for the organization.
- Similarly, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital uses direct mail campaigns to solicit donations from its supporters. They follow up with phone calls to answer questions and provide additional information about their work. They also use text messaging to send updates and reminders about upcoming events.
- Lastly, The Smithsonian National Museum of American History runs online auctions to fund its programs. They promote the auctions through email newsletters and on their social media channels. They also use personalized thank-you notes and follow-up phone calls to thank their donors and encourage them to participate in future auctions.
News & Latest Fundraising Trends for 2023
Fundraising is essential to every nonprofit organization's operations. As we move further into 2023, several trends in fundraising events are likely to shape fundraising strategies for nonprofits. Here are current fundraising trends to look out for in 2023:
- Mobile Fundraising
With the increasing use of smartphones and mobile devices, it's no surprise that mobile fundraising is becoming a popular channel for nonprofits. Mobile giving allows donors to make donations quickly and easily through text messages or mobile apps. By incorporating mobile giving into your fundraising strategy, you can reach donors who prefer to give on-the-go and make the donation process more convenient for them.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow nonprofits to reach a large audience and engage with supporters. Social media fundraising campaigns can raise awareness about a cause, promote events, and solicit donations. By creating compelling content and using targeted ads, your nonprofit can leverage social media to generate donations and expand your supporter base.
This strategy involves recruiting supporters to fundraise on behalf of your organization. Peer-to-peer fundraising can be a powerful way to reach new donors and expand your supporter base. By tapping into your supporters' networks, you can leverage their connections to reach a wider audience and increase donations.
Donor stewardship builds strong relationships with donors to ensure continued support. This can include personalized communications, thank-you messages, and updates on how donations are used. By showing your donors that their contributions make a difference, you can build trust and loyalty, leading to long-term support.
Technology is increasingly important in multichannel fundraising. Automation can help streamline processes and save time, while personalization can help tailor communications to individual donors and improve engagement. By using automation tools to send personalized messages, your nonprofit can increase donor retention and generate more donations.
Data analytics can provide valuable insights into donor behavior and preferences. By analyzing donor data, nonprofits can better understand their supporters and tailor their fundraising strategies accordingly. By tracking metrics such as donor engagement, retention, and acquisition, your nonprofit can make data-driven decisions and improve your fundraising efforts over time.
These trends will shape fundraising strategies for nonprofits in 2023. By embracing these trends, nonprofits can engage with donors more effectively, raise funds, and achieve their mission and goals.
Boost Your Fundraising Results with a Multichannel Strategy
The case for omnichannel fundraising is as simple as acknowledging how fragmented channel preferences have become.
Preferences spread across five main channels—direct mail, email, social media, telephone, and text messaging. And when you consider generational differences on top of all the channel options, the fragmentation multiplies!
But if channel preference were the only piece to the puzzle, fundraising would be as easy as learning your audience's channel preferences and delivering accordingly.
As a nonprofit executive, you know that it takes work. Omnichannel marketing means integrating several platforms to avoid incorrectly assuming your audience's preferred channel and to reinforce your message. The true value of a multichannel fundraising campaign lies in improved response rates.
Taking an omnichannel approach has proven time and again to produce magnified results by strengthening the loyalty and lifetime value of donors, along with strengthening the brand and engaging audiences in new ways.
Creating an omnichannel fundraising campaign might not reward you with the expected increase in response if your channels aren't working together or, worse, are working against each other.
Instead, be sure that you are developing clear messaging and consistent language and formatting that allows your brand to remain consistent across all channels.