"While the overwhelming majority of organisations are on social media and do a good job of posting regularly, very few use these channels to genuinely engage with their constituents," says Rick Dunham
, President+CEO of Dunham+Company
"Social media is an excellent way to not only keep your donors informed â€" but to engage in building a relationship," Dunham
By Rick Dunham
"The trend of older donors giving online has definitely accelerated in the last two years," says Rick Dunham
, President+CEO of Dunham+Company
â€œFor those faith-based-affiliated charities that are increasing revenue, fundraising fundamentals continue to drive that increase,â€� said Rick Dunham, president and CEO of Dunham+Company, a fundraising firm in Plano, Texas, with just over 50 clients, including 30 based in the United States.
Those fundamentals include effective integration of communications using multiple channels.
Among them are direct mail, online communications, and the use of telephone communications to support those appeals.
Other key fundamentals include attention to major-donor development and a focus on the cause and the people affected by the work of the charity.
â€œThat focus on fundamentals powered a strong year in 2013 for our clients, some who saw fundraising revenue grow 25 to 30 percent,â€� Dunham
â€œConsistency in message across communications channels is critical,â€� he
said. â€œIf a donor receives an appeal by email or direct mail, for example, the message on the nonprofitâ€™s website and in its electronic communications should be consistent with the message in those appeals.â€�
â€œMajor donor development also should be integrated into a nonprofitâ€™s overall fundraising strategy,â€� Dunham
â€œRather than treating them separately from other donors, organisations should make sure major donors receive the same types of communications and messages that other donors receive, while ensuring that those messages are customised in the communications aimed at major donors.â€�
â€œEqually important, and where appropriate,â€� Dunham
said, â€œnonprofits should challenge donors with the potential to make significant gifts, while integrating those challenges with other fundraising communications.â€�
Major donors should â€œexperience the same communications as other donors, but at a much higher level and customised to their significant relationship with the charity,â€� Dunham
â€œDirect mail appeals continue to be more effective at generating contributions than online appeals,â€� Dunham said. â€œA truly effective direct-mail strategy will always outperform an online appeal strategy,â€� he
But when both strategies are integrated, a growing number of donors prefer to fulfil their gift online using their credit card. â€œThatâ€™s why you want to make sure the donor experiences the same messaging online that they get through direct mail,â€� Dunham
For year-end appeals in 2013, he
said some of his
clients used a â€œtakeoverâ€� strategy for their websites, with the messaging that donors were receiving through direct mail and email taking over the organisationâ€™s websites and becoming the main message donors were finding online.
â€œItâ€™s not a driver to income,â€� he
said. â€œSuch a strategy helps ensure that when a person comes to the charityâ€™s website, thereâ€™s not confusion with the message but consistency through all channels.â€�
clients also used a phone strategy to set up year-end appeals by thanking donors for previous support and then reinforcing year-end gifts with follow-up calls after gifts were made â€" all with consistent messages across all platforms.
â€œAnd whatever the particular focus of a multi-channel appeal, faith-based nonprofits should focus on the â€˜whyâ€™ of the organisation, the cause, the people affected...not the â€˜what,â€™â€� Dunham
â€œThe fact that weâ€™re doing a specific project is not what motivates the most significant support,â€� he
said, â€œbut â€˜whyâ€™ weâ€™re doing that project â€" to transform lives and the way such a project helps people.â€�