Data Nerd Alert: Donors Who Give Through Multiple Channels Give the Most | Beth's Blog

Data Nerd Alert: Donors Who Give Through Multiple Channels Give the Most

Fundraising, Research Studies

Guest Post By Dennis McCarthy

We’ve known for some time that an integrated multi-channel approach to constituent engagement is key for nonprofits to be successful; however there’s been limited understanding of optimizing integrated marketing or its impact. Convio, along with CAREUSA, recently completed Insights into Integrated Marketing Constituent Behavior to further the thinking and dialog around integrated marketing

With the study’s findings, we can now more confidently say that nonprofits need to adapt to in the way they both engage externally with their supporters as well as organize their efforts internally. Integration on both fronts is imperative.

The study takes a deep dive into the metrics associated with a multi-channel marketing program at CARE USA – particularly the relationship between traditional direct mail and digital channels (also referred to in the study as offline and online). Further it explores the quantification surrounding the relative financial value of different engagement approaches e.g. dual channel vs. single channel communications.

The central finding from the study is that dual channel donors give the most. On average, dual channel donors give $123.29 annually; this is 46 percent more value to a nonprofit than direct mail only donors.  [See chart above]

Even though Online Only and Dual Channel cohorts both returned higher annual donor value than either Offline cohort, the underlying factors influencing this trend are different for the two high value cohorts. Dual Channel donors made higher average gift amounts than Offline Only donors, while Online Only donors made more frequent gifts than Offline Only donors.

Additional findings from the study include

  • Online engagement improves the retention of traditional offline direct response donors. This illustrates that the ROI of online engagement should not solely be measured by giving online.
  • Adding digital channels does not materially cannibalize revenue from direct mail. Multi-channel donors gave almost as much through traditional sources as offline only donors.
  • There is no discernable downside to cultivating direct mail donors via email. Maximizing email collection for that audience and giving the option to give and engage through both channels is important.

To maximize the benefits of integrated marketing, nonprofits must commit to an integrated approach and organizational alignment, aggregate and analyze data, and move away from a one-size-fits-all donor treatment plan to toward paths that align with unique donor preferences.

How is your organization optimizing integrated marketing to enhance the donor experience? What strategies and tactics can you share?

Dennis McCarthy is Convio’s VP of Strategy and Business Practice and frequent speaker in the nonprofit sector. To download the full Insights into Integrated Marketing Constituent Behavior study, including detailed key recommendations, visit (


3 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing Dennis (and Beth). We’re always looking for concrete data that aggregates the giving behavior of donors across various channels.

    I’ve already downloaded the full report and am looking forward to poring over it (in a total data geek kind of way). I’ll likely be referencing this report in upcoming articles.

    Thanks for not only sharing the resource, but parsing through it to share some of the most important findings in an easy to understand way.

  2. Dennis says:

    Dear David,

    Glad you enjoy the report. Please let me know if I or my team can be of additional assistance.



  3. […] Donors who give in several different places give more. I disagree about 95%, but I suppose it depends on who your primary donor audience is. […]