Multichannel Now! Julia Campbell vented this:

Tom Ahern

“Hey fundraisers: Can we stop vilifying social media & digital, and just accept that is where many people spend a lot of their time? *We are not our donors.* Just bc we hate Facebook doesn’t mean they do. Multi-channel is the only way to reach present & future donors. Multi.

“My point is not that one channel is better than the other. There is no one-size-fits-all for any nonprofit. My point is that it’s so easy to blame social media for all of our problems and all of our ills without looking inside our organization.”

Cry of pain, you agree?

I follow Julia and admire her thinking and range and her Peace Corps background and mom-hood. So I sent her a private (well, no longer; as of this moment) email apologizing, just in case. It said:


I feel like I missed a sequel in the Star Wars series. (When did Princess Leia join the Dark Side?)

Who in their right mind would vilify social media & digital?

If anything I said (in my copious though poorly regulated writings) came across that way, please accept my apologies for being such a lousy communicator.

OF COURSE it’s multi-channel these days … and ever more so, for the foreseeable future … until the “chips in our heads” revolution and whatever comes after.

I mean, yeah, the 1440s-to-1990s were great: you only had to understand print and major gifts.

But the world got turned upside down circa 1995 … and now the comms tent is twice as big, twice as complex … & with twice as many opportunities, too!

These days, the competent direct mail copywriters I know not only write the physical thing that will go postal … but they also write a companion suite of email and social media prompts to be sent in coordination.

Steven Screen talks about this.

Tina Cincotti talks about this.

Everyone competent talks about this.

It began to shift toward multi-channel around 2010, according to data Mark Phillips has shared.

The trend line is clear and sharply rising.

Even in my MOST general workshops now, half the examples I show are digital.

YET most online giving pages I visit are garbage … so there’s SO much more to be done.

That flushing noise we’ve heard for the last few years is MY generation leaving the nonprofit world. The fresher folks coming in are all digital natives.

STILL (here’s a rub) typical donors are mostly 55 and older (which is not a reflection on generational generosity, by the way; but merely a reflection of who has the most disposable income).

I.e., These are interesting times.

Yeah, multichannel.

In fact, lots of others weighed in on Julia’s Tweet.

Ian Adair:

Any chance we can also say, hey consultants can you please stop vilifying events. They serve a vital purpose, help us reach a new audience, and can raise lots of needed support for our organizations. Just making sure our multichannel approach includes basic cable

Pam Grow:

Totally get you. We’ve been preaching multichannel for years. And I wouldn’t be here without SM, so I would never vilify it. But what Denisa said is true: DM delivers more income than email. Get the fundamentals – the basics – in place.

Eve Smithwhite:

… I have to tell myself to stop dismissing direct mail – It’s still booming in most charities!


Multi channel! People hate phone calls? Well guess what, as long as it’s profitable, I’m going to have calling. Anecdotes get fundraisers into trouble.


Also, social media fundraising doesn’t have to suck. It’s different, it’s harder, and it’s not easy. But there’s real money there if done right, so stop complaining that you didn’t raise $$$.

@wwgorman or @visufund

Yes to this! Even though we’re an online platform, we always advise fundraisers to promote their campaigns using multiple channels, including email, social media AND offline (direct mail, f2f, etc). Go wherever your donors are and they will give in the way that suits them.

People are influenced on which phone to buy through TV commercials. They talk to their friends. Then they go to phone store to learn how it feels in their hand. Then they go home, get online, and buy it for less. Multi-channel fundraising simply reflects how people think and act.

Julia proposed this headline:

Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Multi-Channel Campaigns for the Modern Nonprofit


  • : Tom Ahern