What are integrated campaigns? Why do we need them? And how do we know they work?
These are among the questions I answered at a recent conference workshop in San Diego and were the core of my MarComm and Development Magic session I led a few weeks ago. The purpose of multi-channel fundraising can be difficult to grasp, particularly for organizations with decades-old strategies of siloed development channels.
What are they?
Integrated campaigns can come in two flavors. In one method, you are utilizing various online and offline tools to boost the presence of your campaign. For example, online ads with direct mail, radio ads and perhaps some print promotion. In another method, you are focused on audience cultivation utilizing a growth funnel strategy: guiding prospects through a series of engagement and conversion tactics by using intentional touch points to create a comprehensive journey like this Ardently Austen campaign.
Why do we need them?
Both of these integrated strategies are crucial. As audiences are gravitating to online channels, the need for diversifying has never been more important. I have been writing about this for several years, but since the pandemic, the transition is even more critical. Many organizations were faced with this head on when they saw their revenue from events and corporate support vanish in 2020. Some thrived with creative ideas while others were forced to close their doors. Ensuring a diverse portfolio allows organizations to weather the economic storms.
Do they work?
NextAfter, the Online Fundraising Institute, conducts thousands of experiments to test audience response and conversion. They published a Guide to Integrated Fundraising that contains the results of several experiments to reflect the incredible impact of multi-channel fundraising.
Online Ads Paired with Mail
In this test, they measured the impact of Facebook ads when combined with a direct mail drop. They created an audience that saw Facebook ads two weeks before and two weeks after the mail piece hit mailboxes vs those that did not. Shockingly, there was a 154% increase in revenue and a 239% increase in conversion rate.
Use of Priming Materials
In this experiment, they were able to segment audiences who visited the website only versus audiences who visited the website and saw a series of six “priming” articles about the value of support and how it directly makes a difference. An important note here, none of the articles asked for a gift. They merely talked about the impact of donations. When the campaign launched, they saw a 196% increase in donations from the audiences who saw the articles and this group was 3x more likely to give at year end.
The Impact of Email
NextAfter has been benchmarking their clients since 2006. Their earliest experiment showed that sending emails to direct mail donors led to 60% more donations than mail alone. More recently, they found that donors who received consistent email throughout they year gave 90% more during campaign time and increased donor retention by 29%. Additionally, with a full multi-channel approach, donor are 3x more valuable and retain at a 56% rate.
Clearly, the benefit of integrated fundraising tactics can and do provide higher conversion, more revenue, and greater retention. And I have plenty of ideas to help! Check out this post on Tackling a 20 Million Donor Loss, particularly the Growth Funnel and Ambassador sections.