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Charities and Multi-Channel Innovation

As we continue to weather our way through the challenges that we face from COVID-19, charities and their fundraising communications must continue. Keeping in contact with donors and supporters is extremely important. (Find out why Communication is Key) Conventional methods such as street fundraisers and benefit events are not an option at the moment due to the restrictions that have been put into place, and therefore charities have begun to look towards innovating their communication and engagement strategy.


Adopting a multi-channel strategy


In an article by Decision Marketing, with research by Rapidata, it states that “Two-thirds of charities have overhauled the way they communicate with supporters during lockdown, ushering in a new era of increased social media, and a return to direct mail and even telemarketing which many plan to stick with in the future.” (Read more here)


An example of charities innovating and adapting, Pancreatic Cancer UK noticed that during the first week of lockdown they had an increase in unsubscribes amongst their regular donors and therefore decided to take up telemarketing in addition to their regular activities. The charity’s senior individual giving manager Shannon Pinder said: “We went into high touch communications with the phone, using personal stories to talk about the pandemic and illustrate how the need was greater than ever. We also offered a payment holiday as an alternative to leaving. While we didn’t see much take up for that, over a third of those we spoke to upgraded. Through this approach we received a much more positive response than if we’d kept these supporters on the normal charity journey.”


In the same article by Decision Marketing, Rapidata lead Scott Gray, who is also head of payments for the Access Group, said: “The past few months have been wrought with challenges for the charity sector. Although it’s been immensely encouraging to find regular supporters mostly sticking with their chosen charities despite their own difficulties. And to see charities themselves innovating and adjusting their strategies to reach out and deepen those vital relationships.”


With statistics by MailChimp stating that – the average open rate for non-profit email marketing is 25.17% compared to the average open rate for all industries we analysed is 21.33%. (read more here) You can easily understand as to why charities are also beginning to add digital channels to their marketing mix.


Using the physical to drive digital engagement


While all these channels can work well in isolation, by adopting a coordinated strategy you can achieve even greater results. The key is to use direct mail as the vehicle that drives the entire multi-channel marketing experience. Direct mail offers a tangible, personalised physical experience which makes it a great tool for grabbing attention and is, therefore, a great way as one of the first touchpoints to drive website traffic and donor engagement.


Source – Royal Mail MarketReach


By combining a well-timed direct marketing campaign with online activities, you can maximise the likelihood of achieving your desired result.


In an article by Inside Charity, they found that using direct mail and e-mail, as part of a multi-channel campaign, make a nice power couple with an average of 27% response rate. Furthermore, when including social media channels and having a web presence, allowing additional donor touchpoints, the average response rate increase to 37%.

Fundraising Appeals Andrew Harrow

Source – Inside



Difficult times can bring inspiration


Throughout the lockdown, we have seen many inspiring stories of both individuals and charities finding innovate ways to raise money. One of the more notable ideas was Captain Tom Moore who raised over £32m by walking around his garden for the NHS and was later knighted by the Queen for his extraordinary efforts.


We look forward to seeing what innovative ways the public and charities can come up with to raise money for their causes.


About us


At Forth have helped many businesses refine and deliver personalised communications driven by data. If you would like to understand more about how we can help you during this time please do not hesitate to get in touch here, or by emailing




Erik Stenersen
Business Process Analyst

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