Is your nonprofit conducting multi-channel fundraising campaigns?  What about integrated fundraising campaigns?

It’s hard to tell the difference, right?  Wait, is there a difference?

You bet!

Multi-channel fundraising involves coordinating the timing of multiple fundraising channels, without necessarily intentionally coordinating themes and messaging across the channels.  Often this happens when fundraising channels are managed in multiple areas within an organization (i.e., the annual giving team manages your direct mail program and the marketing department manages your e-communications program), limiting the ability to build a truly integrated strategy.

Integrated strategies, on the other hand, don’t just run on the same or similar schedules – though timing is important.  The strength of integrated campaigns is the strategic coordination of both timing and messaging to create one synergistic campaign across multiple channels, where each individual channel reinforces the others and enhances the overall effectiveness of the campaign.

When you run truly integrated fundraising campaigns, where integration is a key component of your pre-launch strategic planning (not an afterthought), it’s possible to achieve as much as a double-digit lift in performance.

A key point to consider when testing or rolling out a fully integrated fundraising strategy is results analysis.  If you’re used to measuring each channel on its own merits, you might have to live in an uncomfortable place for a short while.  Unlike individual channel marketing efforts where the goal is to maximize performance in that channel, integrated campaigns seek to maximize overall performance.  What I mean is, don’t discount a channel just because it doesn’t look like it’s performing up to goal.  You might find that taking that channel out of the mix has a negative impact upon other channels (i.e., if radio performance looks low, you might be inclined to reduce or cut your radio spend entirely – but if you do that, you may well find that your online and direct mail results suffer – because radio was driving donors to respond online and via mail).