Online fundraising only makes up a portion of your overall marketing plan. It's not a stand-alone initiative--it's an integrated part of your communications strategy. Not only is your strategy multi-faceted, but your donors are too!
Below, check out our tips for integrating your offline and online tactics to best reach your donors across all channels in your online plan:
Offline Mailing Tips:
- Ask your donors their preference. Reach out to your donors and find out what communications and donation options they prefer. You may think the majority of your folks are strictly offline (or exclusively online). Don't assume!
- Send a cultivation mailer to your lapsed donors inviting them to visit your website. Direct them to a special page on your site that makes an appeal for why they should make another gift. Learn how to make this landing page compelling.
- Use email to boost direct mail response. Remember: Your donors hang out in multiple channels, and you want to give them options. You can email your subscribers telling them to watch the mail, or wait for the call. You can also try following up a special appeal with an email, saying, "We hope you read our recent letter, just click here to make your donation online today. It's convenient and saves us money." The first renewal effort might be conducted by email, followed by the usual multi-letter series, and eventually a phone call.
- Develop a program to gradually gather the e-mail addresses of direct-mail donors who want to add email to their communications with you. Test asks in the direct mail (P.S., buckslip, reply device, etc.) and track response to find the most effective and least expensive ways to gather e-mail addresses without depressing gift response.
- Follow up with email. Email is the fastest and cheapest way to let your donors know what happened after they donated. If your donation appeal made the situation seem urgent, your donors will be left scratching their heads if they don't hear anything else from you about it.
- Create complementary content. Entice donors reading your printed communications to visit your website for "exclusive" content. Not sure what to offer? Maybe you have educational tips ("Download 10 tips for managing your diabetes!") or other downloads of content people can't get from a postcard or letter.
Tips for Other Channels to Consider:
- Events. Having a fundraising walk? Hosting an educational program? Create an email list sign-up sheet to capture in-person email opt-ins.
- Marketing collateral. Craft your call to action on your brochures and handouts--and let that action have an online option! If you're requesting donations, give potential donors the address/directions to donate online if they so choose. Remember: Include your website on everything you print/produce.
- Business cards. In a previous article we advised building your email list in a variety of ways, including email opt-in information in your email signature. Next time you order business cards, why not include a small call to action? (Ex: Donate online at... Or, Visit our website to learn more...)
- Phone calls. Did you just collect a donation over the phone? Does a donor want some follow up? Try this: After you finish a telemarketing call, tell the donor, "We'd like to send you a receipt to acknowledge your gift. The most efficient way is via e-mail - that way we don't have to waste paper and postage." (Thanks to Madeline Stanionis for this tip!)