Integration is the shinny new thing in fundraising.
Integration builds upon the advertising technology pioneered in the 70’s and 80’s we called direct response marketing (DRM). Direct advertising is based upon creating a process to communicate directly with the customer (or donor) and, most importantly, capturing the customer’s contact information so that they can be re-solicited in the future. The process today integrates multi-channel communications and advertising techniques that can include a mixture of: catalogs or magalogs, cell phone and land line calling, emails, free standing inserts in publications, flyer distribution, online websites, letters sent to home & business addresses, newspaper/magazine advertisements, outdoor advertising, radio advertising, targeted television advertising and text messaging. It is also called Direct Response Advertising, Direct Marketing, Direct Response, Direct Response Marketing, DRTV, DRM, or simply, DIRECT.
During the 1970s, 80s and 90s donors were grouped and measured by each of these channels individually and rightfully so. If a donor or customer came onto your file by phone in nearly all cases they only renewed or bought again by phone. If a donor or customer responded in the mail, they rarely, if ever, responded in any other channel other than mail.
Today, the advent and maturation of the internet as a direct response channel has changed all the rules. The ease of ordering, combined with the fact that people now trusted the web as THE place to process their purchases and donations “integrated” or merged all the channel to drive transactions to the web. Note that the internet and the “world wide web” does not stand alone as the driver or source of the orders and donations. The internet has become the portal for processing and while some responders make buying decision based solely upon their web-based research, the majority of responders use the web to transact business, regardless of the channel that drove them to the website.
Integration meshes all the techniques together and allows the donor to go on line and give when triggered to do so by TV, mail, phone, email, on line search or banner add. The fact is that integration is producing better donors than the stand alone silos of the past. A donor who gives in multiple channels will give 25 to 50 percent more per year than a donor who just gives in the mail only or on line only.
The goal of your fundraising program today should be to get as many donors as possible to donate in as many channels as possible. Stop siloing your communications and start giving your supporters more options for giving. The quickest way to double your overall charitable income is to encourage as many donors as possible to give both on line and in the mail or at an event. Multi-channel giving is what integration is all about!