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Episode 41: Multi-Channel Donor Communications

Research shows that multi-channel donors can be worth more than donors who give only online or only offline. But do nonprofits treat multi-channel donors like they’re worth two or three times more to their organization? A recent experiment looked at how nonprofits respond after a gift and the results could surprise you.

Gabe Cooper,  CEO of Phoenix-based Virtuous Software joins the program to talk about the study  they embarked on with NextAfter Institute, titled, The State of Multichannel Donor Communications: How 119 Organizations Are Using Online and Offline Channels to Engage New Donors.

The report examines how charities responded to donations that were made both online and offline. Donations of $20 were made to 119 organizations in the spring of 2020. Communications were then tracked across email, direct mail, telephone and text messaging for four months, culminating with the final 57-page report.

“We seem to know intuitively that communicating with people on multiple channels works,” Cooper said. “The data over and over again in these studies suggests that communicating on multiple channels gets far higher engagement from donors and so the fact that we are not really mailing all our online donors or vice versa…that is a little bit shocking because it seems to be a pretty big disconnect from how we know donors behave,” he said.

“Only 3% of the organizations we gave to were actually doing multi-channel well, meaning, somebody came in on one channel, and then they started engaging with them on both in a meaningful way or even more channels,” Cooper said. “So, that was the big shocker for me was even though multichannel gives are worth 300% more LTV [lifetime value] than a typical single-channel donor, there’s just very few nonprofits that are doing this after a first gift.”

There were some other surprising findings — both good and bad — and several organizations were  cited for being stellar in their communications, including Buckner International and Doctors Without Borders.

As we celebrate our 36th year, NPT remains dedicated to supplying breaking news, in-depth reporting, and special issue coverage to help nonprofit executives run their organizations more effectively.


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