Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, March 19, 2021

While non-profits often score one-time cash donations via the Web — especially when top-of-mind events like natural disasters hit — they can’t seem to convert that into a regular online habit of annual contributions.

While online giving continues to be a major growth engine for nonprofits there are some concerns around retention and donor loyalty. Over the past three years of analysis, online donors have consistently renewed at rates slightly lower than traditional donors. Online-acquired donors have significantly higher lifetime value in aggregate than mail-acquired donors because their larger initial gifts and greater gifts in later years compensate for their lower levels of loyalty. But online-acquired donors are actually underperforming their mail-acquired giving-level equivalents. By contrast, multi-channel donors have much better retention rates for organizations in the analysis.

And like any other professional organization, a non-profit relies upon repeat business to function, given that customer acquisition costs are so high. The problem seems endemic to online marketing:

“Direct mail may not be a Maserati, but it’s very effective because it is very highly evolved,” said Lori Held, membership marketing director at Trout Unlimited. “We know how to ask for money using the mail, but most organizations are still trying to figure out how to do that online.”

Nonprofit groups face a number of challenges in trying to reach donors electronically, Ms. Held and others said.

For one thing, they must have a team dedicated to fine-tuning and improving their Web site and another team for e-mail marketing, both of which are added expenses. Nonprofit solicitation materials often get caught in systems that trap spam and other unwanted e-mail. Other systems eliminate the compelling images that are so effective in direct mail.

But really, it’s nothing some optimization wouldn’t solve. Since these charities are so adept at multi-channel marketing, they can be educated to adopt multiple online modes of outreach: IM, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It all runs toward the idea of communicating with potential donors on their terms, i.e. what’s most convenient and least obtrusive. That dedicated team for Web operations (ditch that second “email marketing” crew — it should all be under one umbrella anyway) can start paying back dividends quickly with a concerted effort.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/19/2009 05:19:32 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Internet, Society
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1 Feedback »

    Much like email and other online channels, charitable organizations are finding it tough slogging to attract donations via Facebook and other social networking sites.
    A case study is (Lil) Green Patch, a low-impact Facebook app that promotes The Nature…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 04/26/2009 @ 09:19:25 PM

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