Balancing short-term and the long-term

May 20, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Taking the money and running can be great short-term policy, but nonprofit managers know that long-term strategy is essential for long-term success.

Still, donor engagement for both the immediate moment and for the long haul requires a balance between two approaches, and at the Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference for Non-Profits, sponsored by the Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB), Terri L. Burton and Jennifer Sacks of the National World War II Museum offered tips about finding just that balance.

Using their organization’s experience, which tested low-dollar and high-dollar engagement with both direct mail and email welcomes, they shared several key findings about return on investment (ROI).

The Museum hired a dedicated staffer for email communications, used the direct mail calendar as a starting point and integrated online messages synchronized with offline communication. The findings were:

  • Approach every project with a multi-channel vision for execution to reap long-and short-term benefits.
  • Conventional wisdom is “High-dollar donors give more, so we should mail them less,” but the museum’s results prove otherwise.
  • No one has figured out how to monetize social media. Change focus to building awareness for the organization that can have benefit in other areas.
  • It’s not quantity, it’s quality. If messaging goes back to mission and the original case for support, donors will remain engaged.