After reading Nicole Schappert’s excellent article on using print for cause marketing, it got my wheels turning about all of the great ways that a cross-channel approach can truly benefit charities and non-profits.

I worked in a social work setting for years helping adults afflicted with mental illnesses. For non-profits like these, money is often thin and governmental support is dwindling with each passing year and restricted state budgets. Private and sustainable funding is often the only choice left, and a multichannel marketing approach is the key to obtaining and maintaining funding to keep the doors open.

Modern Print Technology

With the variable-data applicability and highly advanced printing technologies available with the right provider, a charity’s message can come through in ways that it never had before. Personalized messaging, customizable even down to prior giving levels, language spoken and demographics, can provide a tailored message, delivered at the right time. The faces of the population affected by the charity change with each piece of mail whirring through the machine, varied by data sets storing frequency of donation, first-time giving status and levels of contribution. Each piece of mail is personalized to the potential donor, with the name of the recipient and the face of whom they are helping. Follow up emails strengthen this message and emphasize what their gift can do. Every month, the list can be strengthened and reduced so that those who aren’t giving can receive a different message and see the new face representative of how their contribution can help.

Digital Integration

If you don’t think that the aforementioned message will equal conversion, how about this? Each piece of mail with the variable messaging and imaging comes complete with a variable-data QR code that leads to a blog entry FROM the face pictured on the front of the envelope (or from a family member). Wouldn’t that be a powerful call to action? The key to marketing a non-profit organization effectively is figuratively putting a face to the charity, and making sure a memorable message resonates with the audience. Modern technology allows this "face" to be a literal option. The message could be in the form of a blog from a family member, a Facebook page that has photographs and stories of those affected by the charity, a personalized landing page that shows actually HOW their donation impacts an actual person, or an interactive component that places the recipient's face amongst others that have given. The possibilities are truly endless.

What’s Next?

What a charity needs is a data set, a partner to analyze and refine the results, the right multichannel strategy to harness all of the media available, and a modeling strategy to make the message stronger with each mailing. Modern technology has provided everything you need to personalize the mailing, the follow-up messaging, the landing site and the interactivity of any donation pitch.  If your non-profit is simply mailing a Christmas donor card out every year and not refining what to do with the data gained, you are truly missing out on tremendous multichannel opportunities.