One of the things that I see time and time again as I work with various non-profits is the mixed messages that they tend to send to their constituency. As discussed previously, one of the key factors to the success of your on-line communications strategy is the ability to effectively coordinate your on-line communication with your regular off-line streams.The speed at which the on-line communication can be sent provides some unique opportunities to impact the overall effectiveness of the message. And let’s be realistic, effectiveness is measured by dollar income. Studies have shown that sending an e-mail to your constituency that coincides with an off-line communication piece will improve the response rate. The e-mail does not have to be fancy or even provide a large amount of detail. It can simply encourage the reader to be watching for a letter to arrive in their mailbox. You can also send a post e-mail which reminds your donors that they recently received and important piece of mail from you. Would you use this for each and every direct mail piece you send? Probably not. But it is worth testing for your list.
Another key factor is to make sure that you are not diluting your message. I have received mail from non-profits which is well done and clearly communicates one or two projects that they are currently engaged in. A week or so later, I receive an e-mail from that same non-profit, totally unrelated to the earlier off-line piece. The message ends up being diluted and confusion begins. Unless there is mitigating circumstances (sudden disaster or urgent need that overides the original mailing) keep the messages coordinated.
And finally, make sure that all of the printed pieces and the e-mails contain reference to more information available on the website. The website can provide an interested reader with a research opportunity. Bullet points of statistics, results, and information can be valuable to a donor who may be sitting on the cusp of making a large donation to your organization. They want to be sure that you can do what you say you are going to.