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The Truth About Multi-Channel Marketing

Published by Nathan Hill

Remember when people used to talk about “multi-channel marketing” as if it was a ground-breaking idea? And then everyone got tired of that buzz word, so we upgraded to “omni-channel marketing” and pretended it was something different?

Buzz words like this drive me crazy. Too often they’re held up as the end-all, be-all of marketing and fundraising. But when it comes down to brass tacks, there’s rarely any data to show what works and what doesn’t. We need to be able to measure and test these strategies in order to spend our resources wisely and effectively.

So we decided to put multi-channel marketing to the test to see what effect it actually has on fundraising.

Putting Multi-Channel Marketing to the Test

Hillsdale College was preparing for their year-end fundraising season. They had created a very compelling video of their president, Dr. Larry Arnn, talking about the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Dr. Larry Arnn - Thanksgiving Video

We wondered if we could leverage this video to help cultivate a stronger year-end donor. So we developed a highly personalized post card using a tool called Enthusem.

This card wished the donor a “Happy Thanksgiving,” and pointed them to a landing page where they could watch the Thanksgiving video of Dr. Arnn. This page included a donation ask, but we were primarily interested in seeing if this act of multi-channel cultivation would affect giving during the year-end campaign.

So we divided the main donor file into two equal segments, and ran an A/B test. One half was sent the postcard, and one half was not.

Control

Then we waited. In fact, it took until March to get all of the year-end data fully aggregated and analyzed. And what we found was remarkable.

Treatment #1

204.09% Increase to Conversions

The postcard resulted in a 204% increase in donor conversion during year end. And as you know, a 204% increase in conversion at year-end is no small feat. And it made a huge impact on overall year-end revenue.

Check out Experiment #6404 for the full experiment details.

People Give to People

Lifts like this get us jumping up and down with excitement. But the real beauty of this test is that it took only a few hours to set-up and launch.

People Give to People - Not Multi-Channel MarketingI know first-hand how many hours often go into preparing, designing, and crafting the perfect fundraising strategy. And there’s definitely a place for this. But at the end of the day, we can’t forget that fundraising is about people and relationships.

Donors aren’t going to give to you because you’ve spent countless hours mapping the ultimate multi-channel marketing strategy. Often times the simplest act of cultivation can make a transformational difference in your fundraising.

And if the simple act of sending a personalized post card to say “Happy Thanksgiving” can lift donor conversion by 204%, how much more can we grow our fundraising by using technology to scale personal relationships with our donors?

We’ll have plenty more to say on that idea in the near future. But for now, you might check out Jeff Gidden’s webinar – People Give to People – for ideas on how to personalize your fundraising, communicate like a human being, and lift your fundraising revenue.

About the author:

Nathan Hill

Nathan is the Marketing Director for NextAfter. He spends every day working to help nonprofit organizations discover how testing and optimization can transform their marketing and fundraising, leading to greater impact and organizational growth. He is also a giant Star Wars nerd.