Guest Post Commentary

Guest Post Commentary.

Tuesday we featured a guest post from @BradyJosephson with two proven tactics for how to raise more money using “vertical Integration.”

On the surface, Brady’s advice appears to go counter to my normal advice. Because when I’m asked, “How many times a year should I mail our donors?” I usually respond, “Two more times than you did last year.”

I know that sounds glib – but in my experience, it’s true for about 90% of nonprofits.

But go read the post if you haven’t, and here are my takeaways…

“Vertical Integration” is really, really smart

This is especially important for smaller nonprofits without big communications departments.

It’s the idea that you can communicate the same thing to your donors in multiple channels to take advantage of the power of each channel.

And I’ll add “take advantage of the different portions of your audience” that each channel reaches.

But the key here is to be repeating the same message across all the channels – just executing it differently depending on the channel.

Note to astute readers: vertical integration is the proven idea of repetition (repeating the same powerful message multiple times) updated for the modern era. In the past, not every org could use the mail, radio and TV. And that’s still true today. But every org can use the mail, the web, email and social. And they need to be integrated!

“Direct mail isn’t dead, and it won’t be for a while, but its upside is limited.”

This is both true and not true.

It’s true that, for all nonprofits across north America, direct mail response rates and donor acquisition is down.

But for smaller orgs who aren’t experts at direct mail, there is a massive opportunity for you. The organizations we work with are all seeing very large gains in revenue and donor retention from our work in the mail. It’s why we developed “Instant Appeals & Reports.”

Maybe I’ll put it this way: for most smaller nonprofits, direct mail is still the best investment for communicating with your current donors. You just have to do it well – which is something that’s generally not taught.

Facebook is a Thing

Facebook is becoming a big deal for many organizations.

The most effective way we’re seeing it used, without going into the data-nerd details, is to present your most powerful message to your existing donors again, about the same time they are seeing that message in the mail and in your email.

That’s the “repetition” thing again. That’s the “vertical integration” Brady is talking about.

Thanks, Brady

Brady and Next After, thanks for sharing your knowledge. I love how you’re constantly testing, looking at the results, and making all of us better at online fundraising.

It’s both the present and the future of fundraising. Just don’t forget the entire generation of donors that are plugged in online!


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *