05.18.23 2 min

So I’ve tested an omnichannel campaign…now what?

Bridging the gap between direct mail and digital in your donor acquisition strategy

Tara Kagey

Director, Analytics, Data Axle Nonprofit

Gone are the days of sending out a piece of mail and waiting for a check to return. Gone are the days when we thought we were getting savvier in “digital” and sent out an email and then waited (a shorter amount of time) for a donation to return through the link in that email.

It’s a new age. Donors are customers and customers expect a tailored experience.

I’m a Gen X-er, and I see Facebook ads, Instagram ads, display ads, and all are alike. But guess what—I don’t make my purchase through that ad. I make my purchase “organically” by doing my own research and then going directly to the retailer’s website and buying. Does that make Facebook, Instagram, and display ads obsolete or unsuccessful? NO. They are the entire reason I made my purchase; I just didn’t choose to make it THROUGH that ad. So why are we declaring “direct mail is dead” and “Facebook isn’t profitable?”

Nonprofits today are at a crossroads – there are challenges in every direction with both direct mail and digital programs:

  • Direct mail is becoming more expensive thanks to rising production and mail costs
  • Donors and prospects demand privacy – yet also want personalized experiences
  • Digital prospecting is more difficult as tech companies remove targeting capabilities resulting in higher costs and reduced insight in performance
  • ISPs continue to tighten spam filters in an effort to encourage good sender practices
  • While long standing organizational silos are starting to come down – opening the door to omnichannel marketing within direct response programs – direct mail and digital programs still have budgets and financial obligations to meet

This is where a complete omnichannel marketing strategy can pay off. Including additional touch points within direct response campaigns keeps the brand top of mind, engages supporters, and provides additional avenues to give.

Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

  • There’s a shift in donor giving behavior. Direct mail recipients are opting to give online. Online revenue is growing and accounting for a great share of direct mail revenue.
  • Older demographics are active online. Donor models outperform traditional digital targeting in the ad platforms 3:1.
  • We’re observing changes in response rates. We’ve observed a 25% to 35% increase in response rate when looking at online and offline responses combined for direct mail recipients.
  • What’s the ROI? On average, for an additional media spend investment of $0.02 cost per piece to reach direct mail audiences online, $0.15 in revenue was returned.

At Data Axle, we’re helping organizations bridge the gap between direct mail and digital strategy to maximize ROI.

Now, what’s a nonprofit to do? How do you even begin to bridge that gap? We’ve developed a “Start, Stop, Continue” guide to help you get on your way.

Start: Separating marketing channel and giving channel preference in your donor acquisition and renewal strategies.

Stop: Deploying a one-size-fits-all experience. Donors expect a more personalized experience.

Continue: Testing digital platforms to better understand how direct mail audiences engage with digital ads.

For more ideas on what to start, stop and continue download the guide.

Want to maximize your ROI in 2023 and beyond? Contact Us.

Tara Kagey

Written by Tara Kagey, Director, Analytics, Data Axle Nonprofit

Tara is an expert in leading and creating strategic marketing communication plans and predictive behavior analyses that drive record-high results for Data Axle clients.