Bling out your email with a little alternative channel juju

gears backgroundPeople give to organizations whose visions align with their values—organizations that they trust to make an impact. To build that trust, you’re likely reaching your target audiences—the collection of people who already support you, the people that may support you in the future, and the people and organizations that help connect you to your supporters—in multiple different ways. People visit your website, read about your progress in a newspaper article, meet one of your pitch-perfect volunteers at a party and then they become your supporter.

Even if you have carefully selected the channels via which you will put your message out to the world, creating that multi-touch experience for your potential supporters doesn’t happen magically (despite how many times you say “Shazam!”).

Sure some people will experience your work organically (like when they are researching an issue they are passionate about online and come across your web page and a video of an event you put on), or when they are tried-and-true believers who subscribe to your newsletter and follow your progress on your Facebook page.

But a great many of the people that will fuel the success of your work in the future are having a very singular experience with you. They downloaded an impact report and never heard from you again. They get your newsletter but never look at your website. And wouldn’t it be cool for them to know about your Director of Development who kicks-butt on Twitter? Well, they don’t.

Consistency and repetition of your message across channels strengthens your brand and builds relationships. Yet, according to a study by Convio, only about 55% of nonprofit organizations are serious about integrated marketing.  Forty-five percent of you aren’t doing much to nurture those high-value, multi-channel relationships—you aren’t giving the people who have already expressed an interest in your work more opportunities to experience the magic of what you do.

I’m not suggesting a marketing overhaul; if you know how the people you care about find you and experience you, creating connection between those places—so they can meander, learn more and share— can transform something like an email campaign from a one-hit wonder to a relationship-builder.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Make your email communications shareable. You don’t have to have a social media presence to reap the benefit of some viral sharing of your message. In every email, add social media share buttons or links and when you are communicating with your supporters, by all means, ask them to share! It’s not icky. They believe in what you do.
  • Consider landing pages for campaigns. Instead of sending people to the home page of your website, send them to a page with messaging consistent with your campaign and designed to move them to the next step in the engagement process (for example, signing up for your newsletter).
  • Add a link to your Facebook page on your direct mail pieces.


Here are a few resources with more ideas:

Practical Tips for Multi-Channel Fundraising

What it means to Do Multi-Channel Right

How to Improve Your Email Marketing with an Integrated Approach


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?