chapter 12 Multi-Channel Fundraising

The number of ways we can be in touch with donors, both conveying information and inviting people to donate and be involved in our organization, has enhanced our abilities to build relationships but has also increased our work. Whereas years ago we had only a few options: the main ways to be in touch with donors were through the mail with a newsletter and appeals, and by phone with updates and appeals. Then, as now, we could meet donors at special events, but that isn’t a reliable way to stay in touch. Then, as now, if donors didn’t like to be phoned, we didn’t call them. Today, we continue to engage with donors by mail and phone, but we also interact with them through e-mail, through multiple social media platforms, and, increasingly, by text.

Unfortunately, too few small organizations have taken the time to re-tool their fundraising to work with all the new engagement opportunities. Rather, many organizations just keep adding engagement strategies the way some people add on to their homes—a room here, a garage there, a garden over there. After a while the house is a hodgepodge of styles. New owners almost inevitably tear it down. An organization that operates this way erodes its donor base and often falls into financial difficulty. In this next section, I ask you to stop and think about how you are going to make all the engagement strategies at your command work together to provide donors with a coherent view of the organization and a ...

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