A solid website is the key to your integrated media strategy

Your website should (read: must) be the focal point of your entire integrated fundraising strategy.

Why?

Simply put, 99% of your donors will never walk through the doors of your office.  But a significant majority of them (over 65%) will visit your website.  Some will even visit on a regular basis.  For most of your donors, visiting your website is the primary means through which they interact with and experience your organization.

During your planning process, focus significant time on your site.

Is the design appealing? Is your content engaging?  Is the site easy to navigate (and have you conducted usability testing to confirm this)?  How difficult is it to complete a donation, register to get your e-mails or sign up to volunteer?

Nail down the basics.  They might be so simple they seem trivial, but they’re the key ingredients to your success online.

Once this is in place, build the rest of your integrated strategy around the web.

Tips for building a successful integrated fundraising strategy:

Integrate at the beginning
Integrated fundraising programs fail most frequently because organizations build strategies in silos, then force them together and try to call that integration.  This results in haphazard, messy campaigns that don’t achieve optimal results.  Instead, make integration a key component of your annual and long-term planning process.

Plan the campaign as a unit and pay special attention to how each channel will contribute to the success of the overall.  Adjust the timing of each individual initiative to make sure you maximize the impact across all channels.

Be intentional about coordinating existing media to leverage what you’re already doing
Your existing media channels and efforts are valuable, even if you aren’t currently well-integrated.  You don’t have to re-invent the wheel to achieve integration.  Use the things you have that are currently working well on their own and bring them together (through modifications in timing, messaging, etc.) to get closer to authentic integration.

Align key messages, timing and channels to maximize your impact
Integration isn’t just about sending an e-mail at the same time you send a direct mail piece.  True integration is about coordinating the timing, messages, themes and creative across all viable channels to significantly increase awareness and response.

Understand all channels are not equal
This one is particularly challenging because we’ve been trained (especially those of us in the direct response business) to expect to track ROI to every media spend.  That is, if I spend $20,000 on a direct mail solicitation, I should fairly easily be able to calculate my response rate, average gift, income, cost and ROI for that $20,000 spend.

In an integrated environment, the ROI picture gets a little murky.  Some media channels build awareness.  Some drive traffic.  Others capture responses.  Resist the desire to clearly track ROI back to each individual channel.  Instead, develop ROI metrics that look at the campaign as a whole.  Certainly measure performance in each channel, but understand that they work together to achieve your overall results.

For example, in an integrated environment where you have mail, radio, TV, online and outdoor media working together, you might find that radio is bringing in lower responses and revenue than some of your other channels.  You could cut radio to save money.  But when you do, you might find that your online results slip because radio was actually driving traffic to your website.

As long as your overall results are performing at goal, be very careful about cutting or changing specific channel allocations without understanding the potential impact they could have on the greater effort.

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Image: KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Posted in Direct Mail Fundraising, Integrated Fundraising, Multi-Channel Fundraising, Nonprofit, Online Fundraising, Technology Tagged with: , , ,

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