Guest Blogger – Steven Shattuck

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Analog and Digital Fundraising: A Partnership That Works!

Yes, analog and digital can work together!

There is room for a robust communications strategy that includes both social media and handwritten notes. Or an acknowledgment strategy that includes email and phone calls. Or an acquisition strategy that involves in-person events and AI-driven prospect research.

Too often organizations take a binary approach.

“We’re all digital” or “We’re old school; haven’t entered the digital age.”

Neither is wrong, but you don’t have to choose one or the other.

Phone calls and handwritten notes don’t have to evolve into an exclusive use of email and social media.

Likewise, you don’t have to swing the pendulum back to all-analog, just because of a perceived over-saturation of the digital inbox.

Keep in mind that a donor may see something online and choose to take action by mailing you a check. Conversely, they may make an online gift after receiving a direct mail piece.

As such, there’s no reason why you should lock yourself into a communications channel that mirrors the gift acquisition channel. Not only are you making an assumption that their giving channel was how they were acquired, but you’re also assuming a communication preference that may not have yet been stated. You also risk using a communications channel that may be less effective than another.

According to Network for Good’s “Our Digital Dilemma” study, nonprofits using multi-channel that ‘switch’ to one channel saw year over year retention drop of 31.32%. Conversely, nonprofits that increased the number of donor engagement channels (from 1 to 2 or more) retained 11.89% more donors year over year.

And it makes sense, doesn’t it? Few of us practice channel exclusivity in our lives. We read mail, email, texts and tweets. We watch videos and listen to podcasts. We consume media in multiple formats before our morning coffee.

When you combine that with the fact that so much of that media is impersonal and solicitous, sent by brands and not by humans, nonprofits have a huge opportunity cut through the noise.