If COVID has taught us anything it’s that digital fundraising is the way of the future. At first, migrating campaigns and processes to a digital platform can feel tedious but there is a lot more opportunity to reach people where they’re at, without having to rely on extensive manpower.
Think about it! Your onboarding and acquisition or lead generation process can be fully automated.
However, like every process, there can be some limitations or setbacks. In this article, we highlight the benefits of a digital welcome sequence, the strengths of campaign emails rather than direct mail and the risks of putting it all online.
Benefits of welcoming your donors through an email sequence
Onboarding a donor in a way that communicates value, appreciation and personal connection is no easy feat. Follow up calls, and sending out direct mail packs… all take time and money with little opportunity for automation.
By creating a welcome sequence that your new donor can seamlessly flow into, you can get them set up to learn more about your organisation’s mission and story, the impact you have already created for your cause and answer any frequently asked questions that they may have.
A welcome sequence allows you to onboard your donors in real-time – as soon as they opt-in, make a donation or get off the phone with you. This can make them feel instantly connected, thought of and impressed by your intentionality to communicate with them.
Also, with the ability to tag and segment your donor based on behaviour and/or donation or response to your initial welcome sequence, you can further craft your communications and speak to your donors more specifically when choosing how to engage them for a second gift.
Plus…. did we mention that you only have to set up your welcome sequence once and this will help support as many donors as you can gather? Imagine the time saved.
Benefits of campaign emails for fundraisers
Unlike direct mail, one of the benefits of performing your campaigns online is that you can easily track whether or not your emails have been opened and read. Your organisation instantly has visibility over its donors’ behaviour when consuming what you’ve sent them. With this new visibility, you can plan your other campaigns around the behaviour of your current donors, taking note of the best open times, subject lines and call to actions that were taken up.
To effectively create an efficient email strategy it’s best to think about what links your current donors are clicking, which donors have the best open rate, what emails are being opened multiple times? This shows you what your supporters are resonating with. No need to reinvent the wheel or campaign blindly, use the data to rinse and repeat.
Visibility is one thing, but when it comes to running an organisation the cost of investment is everything. Lucky for you, campaign marketing via email is very cost-effective – no need to pay for envelopes, printing or stamps.
Need your most loyal supporters to start spreading the word about your organisation? Another subtle benefit of email campaign fundraising is its sharing capabilities. With one click your supporters can share your email with their network (who are most likely like-minded individuals). In doing so, they are spreading your message without any effort or pressure on your part at all.
Risks of going online with your fundraising
Like anything, there are always risks, it’s just a matter of weighing up the pros and cons and discussing with your team whether it’s a good strategy for your organisation at this point in time.
The thing with technology is that there are many factors out of your control. Who’s to say that your email won’t just end up in their junk inbox or that they won’t just delete it straight away? It can be harder to engage with your supporters through a subject line. That subject line needs to hook them in if they aren’t already scoring high on loyalty with your organisation. Whereas mail, most people open it, skim the contents and then decide whether to invest more time into it or throw it away.
There is also a high chance of your email getting stuck in someone’s spam folder. The best way to combat this is by asking your donors to whitelist your email address. Adding this step in your welcome sequence can prevent many more emails landing in their spam folder. There is no use for your message in there!
So what about age and ability? You don’t have to be in fundraising for long before you realise some of your most valuable donors are actually seniors. Although tech-savvy retirees are ever-increasing, many older audiences still don’t own a computer or have access to the internet. They still rely on mail coming in through the good old fashioned way. At Redstone Marketing, we do advise on a multi-channel fundraising strategy for this very reason, to capture all of your audience – however they best like to be communicated with.
Do the pros outweigh the cons? We believe so. If you were to take all factors into consideration you could save time and resources by going online. Implementing a multi-channel strategy to combat the risks will help boost your fundraising effectiveness.