Nonprofit Marketing in a Multi-Channel World

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of direct mail’s death have been greatly exaggerated. The reality is that savvy nonprofits are integrating direct mail and online fundraising to great success.

These organizations understand that donors are increasingly operating in a “multi-channel” world. That means the recipient of your direct mail package may be spurred to visit your website for further research — and ultimately opt to make an online gift. Likewise, donors who have traditionally given via direct mail are increasingly signing up for email communications and online marketing programs with the nonprofits they support.

The good news is that a multi-channel strategy is associated with increased gift frequency, increased gift value and increased lifetime donor value. Consider these two simple ideas for ensuring that your direct mail and online fundraising efforts enhance each other:

1) Use direct mail to boost online giving.

Consider adding an online giving option to your direct mail packages. This could be as simple as including a Web address for an online giving page in the body of your letter, as well as alongside the credit card and check options in the reply device. Donors are then led to a landing page with coordinated design and messaging. Tip: Make sure that the printed URL is easy to remember (e.g.,

2) Use email to boost direct mail response.

In the same way that you might make a call telling donors to expect an important letter, you can email your donors telling them to watch the mail or wait for the call. 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.”