mail impact online givingGiven the increase in online transactions in all aspects of our lives, it is logical to consider that nonprofit organizations could someday raise all their annual fund dollars through online communication channels. Statistics show, however, that print continues to drive fundraising results regardless of how the donation is made.

A recent study shows that donors are three times as likely to donate online in response to a direct mail appeal than from an e-mail appeal. Further, this same study found a correlation between direct mail appeals, household income, and online giving. The higher the household income the more likely the online gift was in response to a mailed appeal. Here are some suggestions on how to make online giving more effective:

  • Make sure your online¬†giving channel is aligned with the printed appeal. If you mention a specific initiative in the printed appeal, is it referenced in the online landing page so the donor feels better about completing their transaction?
  • Make the path to online giving easy and gratifying. It is critical to invest time and attention to the look of your online giving landing page and the relative ease of use.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of your online giving in the context of other communications the donor receives. If someone donates online, take the time to see if they received a printed appeal. With the various communication methods used today, it is impossible to evaluate any one channel in isolation.

Effective fundraising communication uses emotional and personalized messaging that allows the recipient to better appreciate the difference their donation makes. A printed piece, because it is durable, warm, and inviting, will remain a vital fundraising communication channel that supports online giving.