Evaluating Your Multi-Channel Fundraising Campaign: 3 Keys

By: Philip Schmitz

The last few years have seen many fundraising professionals experiment with new ways to keep supporters and donors engaged. A few of the ideas that came out of the pandemic have shown lasting fundraising promise, becoming staples of many nonprofits’ fundraising strategies. 

Multi-channel fundraising, the practice of approaching supporters across numerous platforms, has been one of the most stand-out, winning strategies. While the idea of building multiple touch points isn’t new, a truly comprehensive approach that connects with supporters both on and offline has risen in popularity, especially as social media platforms have essentially become a requirement for nonprofit outreach campaigns. 

However, not every multi-channel fundraising campaign sees the same success, even when run by the same fundraising team. Before launching your next campaign, be sure to have your data collection software ready to capture key metrics. By doing so, you’ll be able to determine where your campaign is succeeding and what could use further improvement. 

To help your nonprofit stay on top of your most important campaign data, here are three key metrics to pay attention to during your next fundraiser:

  1. Average Donation 
  2. Supporter Demographics 
  3. Return on Investment

Remember that just collecting data alone does not mean your nonprofit will see immediate improvements. To make the most of these metrics, develop actionable steps to take advantage of opportunities and put solutions into place that will fix long-term problems. Let’s get started. 

1. Average Donation 

Careful nonprofits with deliberate marketing campaigns can grow their average donations over time. Both supporters who have been with your organization for years and new donors making their first contribution can help increase your organization’s average donation amount when you employ the right marketing practices. 

Your multi-channel fundraising campaign creates multiple touchpoints with supporters that build up brand recognition and a general sense of what your nonprofit does and how to contribute to your cause. 

Many first-time donors are often unsure how large of a contribution they should make. Your marketing materials can help provide suggested donation amounts and convey how great an impact specific donation amounts would have. For example, a food bank might mention how much produce could be purchased with a $50 donation and how many people would subsequently be fed. 

Wealth prospecting tools can also help your nonprofit make targeted fundraising appeals to donors who have a higher capacity to contribute again or even become major donors. For example, you might use this information to create a separate email stream targeted at high-value donors that discusses the impact of giving in high quantities. 

These donors will still benefit from seeing more general marketing messages on other platforms, but your tailored messaging on specific channels can help change their overall perception of your nonprofit and what qualifies as an appropriate gift size. 

2. Supporter Demographics 

You can better tailor your fundraising appeals if you know who is receiving your messages. Demographic information is especially important for multi-channel fundraising campaigns as it can reveal which supporters respond to your messages on which channels. 

Software tools such as your donor management system can help you track this information for individual supporters by creating individual donor profiles. From there, your nonprofit can use this data to do three things:

  1. Create personas. Personas are a general representation of your average supporter formed by looking at recurring demographic trends. Organizations can use personas to better visualize how their entire audience will respond by tailoring their message to one generalized individual with many characteristics shared by their supporter base. In the animal shelter example, that nonprofit might create a persona that is a young professional in their mid-twenties, living in a city, who owns two dogs. 
  1. Segment supporters. Grouping supporters by shared characteristics can help your team create materials that target their interests more closely than one generic messaging template can. Make sure to segment your supporters based on meaningful characteristics.  
  1. Deliver personalized messages. Collecting specific data on supporters such as their name, address, profession, and past engagement gives your nonprofit the opportunity to create truly unique messages. Personalized messages reference specific details relevant to your supporters such as their name and past engagement history. Combine personalization and segmentation strategies to tailor your messages to align as closely with your supporters’ interests as possible.

As you gather supporter data, keep in mind that not every piece of demographic information is equally valuable or worth referencing. For example, you could potentially segment your supporters based on gender, but it is unclear what impact that would have on your fundraising campaigns. 

3. Return on Investment

Your multi-channel fundraising campaigns should have a significant enough return on investment that they are worth the effort. It can take time to start seeing results, so ensure your budget can handle the initial investment costs, and set a timeframe by which you want to start seeing results. 

Research sector averages before setting fundraising goals for your campaign. Doing so ensures that you’ll have reasonable expectations for your campaign and can continue to set incremental goals for future campaigns based on your nonprofit’s size and resources.

For example, if you launched a new multi-channel fundraising campaign focused on corporate matching gifts, you would start your research with resources like Crowd101’s corporate giving statistics report. While these reports provide broad overviews of the entire nonprofit sector, statistics can help you analyze your overall results. For example, a report that 1 in 3 donors claim they would make a larger donation if their gift was matched can help you evaluate your own campaign’s average gift size and how it compares to your matching gift rates. 

Multi-channel fundraising campaigns have the potential to help your nonprofit establish strong connections with supporters across a variety of platforms. Before launching your next campaign, ensure you have the right analytics tools in place to track key metrics that can help you evaluate your past campaigns and ensure your next fundraiser will be even more successful. 

Author Bio: Philip Schmitz – CEO & Founder

Philip Schmitz is the CEO and founder of cloud-services leader BIS Global, creators of the CharityEngine fundraising & communications technology platform. Founded in 1999, Phil has managed the vision and strategy for BIS’s suite of integrated business applications & hosting tools used by more than 400 businesses & non-profits.

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