The Importance of Multi-Channel Fundraising at Year-End

I was riding the elevator up to my apartment last week with a young man who was busy sorting through several envelopes.  I just couldn’t resist, so I said that “conventional wisdom (in my industry) is that the millennial generation doesn’t use postal mail.” 

He immediately responded, “Oh no, lots of important things come in the mail.”

Now of course, like most of us today, he probably also sent and received several text messages and emails as well that day.

And that’s why the best way to communicate with donors today (of any generation) is to use a truly integrated, multi-channel communications approach.

Digital communications are essential for real-time updates and dialog with your donors.  And almost everyone relies on their smartphone to stay in touch.

But postal mail is also important.

Earlier this year, “The Donor Mindset Study III,” a donor opinion survey conducted by Grey Matter Research and Opinions 4 Good, found that 37% of current donors to organizations are more likely to read direct mail, while 35% are more likely to read email.  Pretty even.

The study showed that the youngest donors, under age 34, did gravitate more toward email, but not by much—44% to 35%.

Another part of the survey asked donors which channel was best at “telling a touching story?”   38% said direct mail to 23% for email (with another 38% saying they see no difference).

This seems to match the integrated multi-channel approach that Meyer Partners uses most often for the organizations that we serve. 

The direct mail letter will share an emotional and engaging story, sometimes even a lengthy one.

The digital components of the same campaign will be as brief as possible—relying more on photos and short, easy-to-read copy points to create interest—with multiple links that donors can use to dig deeper or respond immediately.

Another factor in fundraising success is timing and seasonality.  While many organizations have successful campaigns at other times during the year, most rely on year-end campaigns to generate a larger share of revenue. 

We believe you will find that a truly integrated mix of direct mail and digital communications is the strategy that works best for most nonprofit organizations throughout the year, and especially at year-end.

If you haven’t tried a multi-channel approach to your year-end campaign before, we urge you to do so this year. 


If you’d like more information on all the ways we can help with your multi-channel fundraising approach, send us an email at and let’s get started!

John Payne