Yes to Multichannel BUT Mix Depends on Audience


Blackbaud just released a must-read report—findings from its Next Generation of American Giving study on charitable giving trends and engagement behaviors and attitudes across Matures (68+), Boomers (49-67), Gen X (33-48) and Gen Y (18-32). I recommend you read the entire report and share out your top-ten findings and implications for your org with colleagues and your leadership. It’s too important to miss!

But there are two critical findings I want to share with you a.s.a.p.:

1) It’s more important than ever to get to know your donor base and prospects, use your understanding to shape messages and choose channels, and to keep that understanding fresh.

“The majority of nonprofit marketing spend and tactics are focused on Mature donors,” said Pam Loeb, principal, Edge Research, and chief researcher here. “However, we are starting to see a shift as Boomers become the dominant force in charitable giving and will remain so for quite some time. Now it’s more important than ever for nonprofits to understand their donor base.”

2) Multichannel is the new normal but the ideal mix varies from generation to generation.

No surprise here but a vital reminder—So many of you have told me you feel pushed beyond your limits by the demands of multichannel marketing—that the demands of marketing effectively on more channels than ever, with new ones added regularly, is absolutely overwhelming.

My recommendation—The only strategic (and sane) response here is to make knowing your audiences (now and on an ongoing basis) an absolute priority. It’s the ONLY way to get the insights necessary for right-things, right-now marketing (here’s a marketing plan template that takes you there, step by step), and enables you to pinpoint the right things NOT do in order to do the most important fundraising and marketing things better.

P.S. Note the strategic way that Blackbaud has shared these findings, following their own very good advice! The full report is available at no charge, and supplemented with multiple formats and slices for different audiences, including:

  • One-page cheat sheet for those who are time limited or only mildly-interested (it’s a great hook and I bet it’s pulled many folks into the full report).
  • Animated infographic
  • Slideshow version of the infographic, better for sharing and in-depth digestion, created in response to user requests
  • Press release for folks like me, highlighting key findings.

Kudos to Blackbaud for walking the talk!

More on multichannel


Nancy Schwartz on August 15, 2013 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 5 comments
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  • MobileNPO

    Great post! Thanks for the link to the marketing plan template.

  • Megan Keane

    Thanks Nancy, this is very helpful (as is the report). So many times I see people prioritizing the tools instead of understanding the audience THEN using the tools strategically to address them. A big “hear, hear!” to your post.

  • nicolec_nposynergy

    Indeed, it’s imperative that nonprofit organizations are aware of which methods of communication will reach out to their donors of different generations. The attached report was very useful.

  • Emily Cotter

    Such a cool animated infographic that this links to. I’ll definitely be going back and looking at it more in detail later. And I like your two takeaway points: this shift in which group donates more is so important for targeting messages and campaigns and that multichannel campaigning is necessary.
    Also thanks for the marketing plan template! (I find it more useful than the 5 Ps, by the way.)

  • Nancy Schwartz

    Emily, thanks for your comment. I took a look at your blog and am impressed! Great contributions. Seems like the WVU strategic communications program must be very strong.

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