Multichannel giving has become a hot topic among fundraisers, with most of us assuming that we must fundraise through all available channels to reach our modern, multi-generational, and multi-tasking donors.
The latest survey by Blackbaud helps unravel the clues about multichannel donors a bit more.
Here's what I got from Blackbaud's recent survey:
- Nonprofits have generally embraced multi-channel fundraising as an objective.
- However, donors actually don't practice multi-channel giving as much as we might have thought. They typically give through one channel--direct mail.
- The donors who do engage in significant multichannel giving are new donors who make their initial gift online. Your newly acquired online givers might switch to direct mail giving in subsequent years. Blackbaud's reports says, "This is the group of donors for which multichannel giving is crucial for garnering repeat gifts and realizing true long-term giving potential."
- The Internet is an increasingly important way to acquire donors, but it does not result in great retention.
Here is what the survey revealed about those online donors:
- Even though most gifts, including new ones, are still received by direct mail; it is increasingly common for new donors to give their first gift online.
- Online-acquired donors trend younger and tend to have higher household income than mail-acquired donors.
- Online-acquired donors have much higher cumulative value over the long term than traditional mail-acquired donors. However, that long-term value varies depending on the original gift level, and whether the donor can be shifted from a one-time donor to a multi-time donor. Higher gift amounts can mask retention problems.
- Every year, large proportions of online-acquired donors switch from online giving to offline sources--primarily to direct mail. The reverse is not true. Very few direct mail givers become online givers later.
- Without the ability to become multichannel givers by renewing support via direct mail, online donors would be worth far less. When online-acquired donors move offline, they tend to do so soon, in their first renewal year. They then continue to give offline in similar proportions in subsequent years. Eventually, just under half of all online-acquired donors convert entirely to offline, primarily direct mail giving.
The bottom line is make sure you have an online option for donations and don't give up your direct mail program any time soon. The report says,
"Robust direct mail programs drive up the retention and long-term value of new donors acquired online. Without the ability to become multichannel givers by renewing their support via direct mail, this group of donors would be worth far less. Other than monthly recurring giving programs, established direct mail programs are the best method for gaining repeat gifts from online acquired donors."