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Chasing the Unicorn?

Be very quiet.  Remain perfectly still.  You don’t want to frighten away the elusive creature of legend.  Are we stalking the Unicorn?  Bigfoot?  Leprechauns or Chupacabra?

No, the fabled prey we seek is … the multichannel donor!

But is the multichannel donor a mythical creature or do such people really exist?

Fascinating insight was provided recently in Target Analytics’ 2011 donorCentrics™ Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report.  For the past five years Target Analytics has put together a benchmarking study with the cooperation of some of the biggest non-profit organizations in the world.  The data they gathered has provided critical insight into the reality of online and multichannel giving.

One of the key findings will surprise some:

“While multichannel giving has become a popular objective of nonprofits as a way to build constituent support, the large majority of donors on file give through only one channel and use only direct mail as their vehicle for donations.  The only donors who do significant multichannel giving are new donors acquired online, who switch in large numbers to direct mail giving in subsequent years.”

While it continues to become more and more common for new donors to make their first gift online very few actually renew their giving that way.  Those that do renew tend to do so through traditional off-line channels primarily direct mail.  But not the reverse, only a small percentage of direct mail acquired donors give online in later years.

The study is full of interesting statistics and if you are involved in public fundraising of any sort I highly recommend you read it.  You can find it here.

It is worth noting that this report only addresses online “giving” and does not consider the impact of online “communication” on offline giving.

My best advice?

First, push your message out to donors and prospects through every means feasible: social media, email, direct mail, telephone, special events, etc.

Secondly, open up every possible channel to make it as easy as possible for donors to give however they feel most comfortable.  But however you get the first gift make sure to keep mailing them because that is how the vast majority of donors renew their giving.

Who knows?  Maybe you’ll actually come across the legendary elusive multichannel donor.

Katapult MarketingChasing the Unicorn?