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Successful cross-channel fundraising campaigns can lead to greater brand awareness, a larger donor base, and higher revenue. But getting there can be challenging. Without an intentional strategy, it can feel like your organization is simply spinning it’s wheels.

How do you move from the old way of doing things where every corner of the campaign is separate, to a new fully integrated style? Where do you start? The best place to start is by identifying the potential pitfalls you could run into along the way.

8 Communication Mistakes Nonprofits Make (and How to Avoid them)

Here are eight common integrated marketing mistakes that nonprofits make (and how to avoid them):

  1. Don’t encourage departments to work in isolation of the strategy or one another. Perhaps the greatest leap you will ever make toward true integration is to eliminate the barriers that keep your people (and thus your campaigns and messages) operating independently of each other.
  2. Don’t make things unnecessarily complicated. Take a yearlong, holistic approach to planning your communications so that each campaign builds upon the previous one and drives the next in each relevant channel. Determine what data will be required to make those decisions and how it will be captured and updated in an ongoing fashion. You don’t have to have a complicated plan, just a thorough one.
  3. Don’t worry if you can’t afford major software. Accept that no database is perfect. Many solutions exist (and within a range of costs) that are designed to pick up the slack where your current system may be lacking. These systems can provide more robust reporting, create data overlays with external source information, and warehouse data for sophisticated analytics.
  4. Don’t budget by channel. Put your resources into one budget then redistribute based on available opportunities. If you’d be more comfortable starting small, design a test or pilot. Focus on a mini-campaign and measure the results, then tweak and expand using past success as leverage to garner future resources that create scalability.
  5. Don’t be afraid to outsource. Having an outside perspective can help create focus, offer insights into emerging trends, and provide an unbiased opinion on a strategy’s effectiveness. Spend your time doing what only you can do and let systems and/or strategic partners help with the heavy lifting.
  6. Don’t use just any channel. Evaluate data and segment donors, then identify the right channels for your audience. Think of your campaign as a “choose your own adventure” and consider all the possible ways a donor might engage or decide to take action. Then seek to lead donors down the most intuitive, optimal path, while understanding that each donor’s experience and preferences will be unique.
  7. Don’t plan your campaigns based solely on your internal calendar. Keep in mind which sequence or combination of communication will drive your donors to give. Personalization is key.
  8. Don’t use social media unless you’re dedicated to it. It is better to have no online presence than to start one and then abandon it. Measuring the effectiveness of social media can be difficult, such as tracing activity back to a channel of origin. But when you include social media outreaches in an integrated plan, you can make correlations between activity and response.
Learn how to effectively engage donors through traditional and digital communications

The reasons for using an integrated fundraising approach are compelling, but getting there is no small feat. Start by avoiding these eight pitfalls and you’ll be well on your way to adopting an integrated cross-channel marketing approach.

Which of these pitfalls are you most tempted to make?