Monday, June 6, 2011

Want to Improve Your Fundraising Results? Fire on ALL Cylinders!

Last week, Blackbaud released the 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report.  This report analyzes data from 28 organizations (some of the biggest national nonprofits in the U.S.) and includes transactions for over 15 million donors and $1 billion in revenue.

The study confirms much of what we already know (and why you should care) about online donors and online acquisition!  It also highlights the interesting opportunities and challenges posed by multi-channel giving.  Here are some key findings.
  • Online-acquired donors are younger. 
  • Online donors tend to have higher household incomes than mail-acquired donors. 
  • Online-acquired donors tend to give much larger gifts and to give more in total revenue each year than mail-acquired donors. 
  • Online donors become multi-channel donors. According to the study, “Every year, large proportions of online-acquired donors switch from online giving to offline sources — primarily to direct mail. The reverse is not true, however; only a tiny percentage of mail-acquired donors give online in later years.”
  • Finally, and this may be the most important point - Online-acquired donors have much higher lifetime value than traditional mail-acquired donors.  See chart below.
That said there is a catch.  According to the study, it’s challenging to retain donors online, particularly if you don’t have a direct mail program in place.
“Robust direct mail programs drive up the retention and long-term value of new donors acquired online. Without the ability to become multichannel givers by renewing their support via direct mail, this group of donors would be worth far less. Other than monthly recurring giving programs, established direct mail programs are the best method for gaining repeat gifts from online- acquired donors.”
We’ve seen this multi-channel challenge/opportunity with several of our clients at Care2.  Namely, after working with hundreds of nonprofits, we’ve learned that the only way to significantly improve your fundraising success is to “fire on all cylinders” vs. keeping donors in silos.

For example, check out this recent case study we did with Human Rights Campaign, an organization that works for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.  You’ll notice that by employing a multi-channel fundraising approach, which included email, telephone and mail, they were able to significantly increase the lifetime value of Care2 leads to $11 per subscriber!

Don’t have a true multi-channel giving strategy in place?  Get one now.  This may mean enhancing cross-department communication and dealing with database integration issues. 

To learn more and read other observations on this report, download it now and read the posts below.


P.S. Thanks to Marc Rovner at Sea Change Strategies for talking through the implications of this research with me!


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