Multichannel marketing refers to the practice of interacting with donors using a combination of communication channels and enabling donors to act in response using the channel of their choice. Multichannel marketing is all about choice. It is important for the simple reason that you must be where your donors are to engage with them.
Smaller nonprofit organizations often rely too heavily on one channel for their fundraising efforts — in most cases, email. It is not hard to guess why. Email is quick, easy and cheap. But it also comes with some big drawbacks. Check out these statistics:
- More than 20% of marketing emails never make it to a subscriber’s inbox.
- Nonprofit emails that are delivered have an average open rate of 25%.
- A good response rate is between 0.01% to 0.25%.
If we apply the math to these facts, assuming 10,000 emails sent and $25 donations received: 8,000 delivered = 2,000 opened = 5 donors (on the high end)/$125 in donations realized.
Those numbers are not exactly awe-inspiring. But what happens when you combine your email efforts with another channel, like direct mail?
Case Study: The Multichannel Approach
We found a case study that revealed some incredible results. In this study, the organization conducted a substantial test to determine the effects of a multichannel approach to fundraising. It took one of its best direct mail campaigns and split it three ways:
- One segment got a letter containing an ask.
- One segment got a letter with no ask followed by an email with an ask.
- One segment got a letter followed by an email with identical asks.
The emails were timed to arrive shortly after the letters hit mailboxes.
- Group 1 (letter only with ask): 14% response rate
- Group 2 (letter with no ask + email with ask): 1.4% response rate
- Group 3 (letter + email with identical asks: 23.9% response rate
The letter-only response rate in this study came in well above current industry norms of around 5% to 9% and can perhaps be explained by the fact that the study used one of the organization’s “best mailings.” But the high-response rate for Group 3 is most likely attributed to the multichannel approach.
Another finding was that people who received the multichannel treatment were more likely to give online. The organization ran an additional study and found that donors who received the mail/email combo gave roughly 25% more than those who received mail only.
Bringing It All Together
A targeted multichannel approach can drive growth and improve donor loyalty within your organization, but for today’s tech-savvy consumer, consistent messaging and removal of barriers across all channels is key.
It is easier than ever for your messages to get lost in the shuffle. By providing this roadmap, we hope that more smaller nonprofits consider multichannel fundraising and realize that direct mail campaigns are not out of their reach. A highly targeted direct mail campaign combined with an email follow-up can yield great results. A bonus to having an integrated communications plan is that it affords multiple chances to gently remind your most engaged constituents about giving and the impact of your organization.
Editor’s Note: This “Direct Marketing 101” column was originally published in the May/June 2021 print edition of BRAND United’s sister publication NonProfit PRO as “A Roadmap to Multichannel Marketing For Nonprofits.” Click here to subscribe.