As much fun as it is to do online fundraising, nonprofits have to face the hard truth that offline fundraising is their best bet for long-term, sustainable income.
That is the message that Blackbaud keeps hammering on to make sure that nonprofits don't think that online giving is the holy grail of fundraising.
If you haven't read Blackbaud's 2011 Multichannel Fundraising Report, you really need to. Frank Barry of Blackbaud's Netwitsthinktank blog just wrote again about the sobering details of that report. To quote Frank:
"...one of the most striking findings in our 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report was that, in aggregate, online-acquired donors still have much higher cumulative value over the long term than traditional, mail-acquired donors.
"However, this only holds true when the online donor has been converted to offline giving. Otherwise, online donors tend to be one-hit wonders that leave the nonprofits in the unenviable position of having to constantly find new supporters to replace them."
Too many organizations have internalized the first part about "higher cumulative value" of online donors and quickly forgotten the part about "one-hit wonders."
There is no silver bullet in fundraising. It takes hard work, consistent effort, and a multichannel approach. Converting first time donors to long-time donors still means cultivating them offline. Very few charities succeed with only online giving. Most must ply all the possibilities -- not just multichannel marketing but multiple baskets of income.
Online fundraising is an investment in the future and a way to engage first time, often young, donors. The payoff is in the future when the post office might be a dinosaur and everyone is totally wired. Meanwhile, combining the new and the traditional is the best bet for success.
How is your oganization using all the channels and buckets to support your organization? Do you have a lesson or two to share?
- How to Keep Donors Coming Back After the First Gift
- Unraveling the Data about Multichannel Donors
- Why You Should Mail Thank You Letters to Online Donors
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