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Why omnichannel is a powerful tool for NFPs in the viral age

3 min read

Earlier this year Australian actor Chris Hemsworth made headlines on the set of his new movie, Thor: Ragnarok just by wearing a sweatshirt from the charity Livin. The small suicide prevention group fights the stigma around mental illness and one paparazzi shot of Chris wearing their sweatshirt catapulted the nonprofit into the spotlight. At the same time the 22 push-Up Challenge was making the rounds on social media to raise awareness for military veteran suicide prevention by challenging people to do 22 push-ups for 22 days in a row.

Both of these viral sensations have raised awareness about issues that face millions of people and show just how effective and literally life-changing nonprofit education and fundraising can be once word gets out to the public. But not every non-profit will have a social campaign go viral, triggering instant awareness and large donations. In fact, a recent poll of thousands of donors by Cygnus Applied Research, found that social media doesn’t always lead to direct non- profit donations but does help volunteers and donors feel more connected to their charity of choice.

The new reality is that getting into a donor’s news feed is a lot harder now then it was just a few years ago. Emarketer reports that of the top 25 industries on Facebook, nonprofits rank 17 behind music, TV shows, travel and news. That’s a lot to compete with.

But your social strategy can grow your donor engagement if your nonprofit is watching social trends carefully and responding to social conversations around your campaign, goals and organisation. Take it a step further with great storytelling, so your story attracts attention and then inspires a donor to make a donation or even share your social post or tweet. Treat your social communities with care and attention and give them time to grow. With steady communication and response, gaining new donors and retaining existing donors will be a natural follow through.

While social can help change the world, one of the key pieces of advice from many not-for-profit fundraisers is to follow up with a meaningful, personalised note or card that thanks the donor and gives a better understanding of where their money went and how it is furthering the mission.

While it is tempting to say thank you through Facebook posts, tweets, or email, social posts can get lost in feeds and emails can get lost in overstuffed inboxes. That’s why many fundraisers cite direct mail as an important way to communicate with donors.

The Australian Post reports that 99 per cent of Australians open their paper mail — which is pretty powerful for any omnichannel fundraising campaign. Sending a meaningful, personalised and colourful thank you from your NFP will show your gratitude and your charity’s effectiveness at putting donor dollars to work. Top charities don’t just say thanks through direct mail, they follow up with meaningful quarterly or half-yearly reports by mail to keep donors interested and feeling good about their efforts. This conscious effort to build donor trust will go a long way to securing your next round of funding and ultimately build a strong relationship with donors who become advocates for your organisation.

These days, there’s no denying that celebrity endorsement, email and social media marketing are powerful tools that help raise awareness of nonprofit fundraising efforts and can reap higher and higher goals if they can create that rare viral campaign. But nonprofits would be remiss to ignore all the good that an omnichannel campaign with direct mail can achieve too. With all of today’s constant digital communication, people still like getting a letter in the mail, especially if it says thank you.

Stephen Darracott, Country Manager and Director, Pitney Bowes Australia & New Zealand.



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Stephen is a seasoned technology executive, with more than 25 years’ experience in leadership roles in Asia Pacific and Europe.

He is currently Country Manager and Director of Pitney Bowes Japan, Australia and New Zealand (JANZ), responsible for growing the business across the region.

Prior to leading the ANZ business, Stephen was Vice President for Sales Operations for Pitney Bowes in Asia Pacific and Europe. In this role, he was responsible for driving the overall productivity and effectiveness of the sales channel organisations, including sales strategy and processes, development of sales programs and incentives to drive performance.


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