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Multi-channel has been an intentional for-profit strategy for more than a decade but many nonprofits are failing to adopt effective marketing methods. Even those who would like to advance more quickly are often hampered by limited resources or a lack of understanding from upper management.

There’s no denying the fact that making changes at a nonprofit is more complex than implementing changes in a business. However, we can’t use that as an excuse if we want to continually improve our strategy and ultimately, our results, when it comes to engaging donors and inspiring them to action.  

6 Reasons Nonprofits Struggle with Multi-Channel Fundraising

Does it just come from a lack of caring or fear of a new way of doing things? If you’re trying to implement multi-channel fundraising, these six obstacles may look familiar:

  1. Lack of resources. Fundraisers often point to limited resources—people, time, and money—as a key reason for limiting their efforts. But a streamlined cross-channel marketing plan will actually save dollars and time. When the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing efforts can overlap without a unified message.
  2. Absence of solid data. A lack of detailed, reliable data on prospects’ and donors’ interests and preferences, as well as not having an effective system to manage good data, both hinder an organization’s ability to craft an informed strategy. We must validate assumptions and move past relying on intuition, because even “what worked before” may not be maximizing all of the opportunities available today.
  3. Resistance to new methods. Staff members poised to embrace new techniques are often held back by their upper management who are unclear on the possibilities or are unsure of how to parlay their years of experience into new strategies and technologies. A commitment to openness to change and best practices should be essential when establishing your staff culture.
  4. Prioritizing the wrong things. Wowed by a creative media piece or the newest app, fundraisers can be tempted to disregard the strategy behind the creative or to focus on a tactic that isn’t part of a holistic plan. The result is like shooting a shiny new arrow into the dark without having first identified the target. Always stick to the strategy first.
  5. Tentativeness toward multiple asks. Sometimes a fundraiser accepts a gift and then either stops asking or only asks in the channel through which the donor initially responded. Instead of being tentative, get to know what motivates the donor to give more readily and more often.
  6. Risk aversion. Nonprofits may fear alienating current donors by changing the process, or they may avoid taking a risk on a new strategy without total confidence it will produce the expected income. Risks come with the territory. Do your homework, look to the data, and make the necessary changes.

Are you faced with one of these obstacles now? How are you working to avoid it?