Four Ways Integrated Fundraising Can Help Your Nonprofit

nonprofit fundraising

Consistent annual giving fundraising success requires effective, optimized engagement of the donor base. Therefore, the real focus of an annual fund campaign should be engagement. And the most effective strategy to engage donors is through integrated fundraising.

Integrated Fundraising vs. Multichannel Fundraising

Typically, there are four core solicitation methods a nonprofit organization can use to engage donors and solicit gifts. These include: direct mail, email & web, telefund/phonathon, and personal solicitation.

In the old way of looking at multichannel annual giving fundraising, program directors would “silo” these solicitation methods so they could track performance by category and project. In this approach: Direct mail appeals result in donations via reply envelopes; Email appeals result in donations made via the organization’s website; Telefund or phonathon campaigns result in credit card donations or fulfilled pledges; Personal solicitations result in development officers returning from a visit with a check from a donor, and so on.

Gathering performance data by solicitation method is nice and neat. The problem is, it’s not the way modern annual giving fundraising works.

Donors typically don’t adhere to the buttoned-up thinking required to track fundraising success by solicitation method. So when Ms. Smith sees a missed call from her alma mater and she responds by returning an old reply form she kept from last fall’s annual fund appeal, which solicitation method is truly responsible for prompting the gift?

We live in a brave new world of annual giving — one in which a donor may receive a very compelling direct mail appeal yet, instead of mailing back a check in the reply envelope, they may simply Google the name of the nonprofit . . . navigate to the organization’s web site . . . and click the “Donate Now” button. Traditional multichannel fundraising counts this as a web gift, but is that accurate?

In contrast to the old way of thinking about siloed solicitation methods, integrated fundraising campaigns are conceptualized, created, deployed, and measured in a more holistic way. Classic solicitation method -based performance tracking isn’t discarded. But where traditional multichannel fundraising looks for success by measuring siloed performance on each individual channel, integrated fundraising tracks response on the individual channel AND ALSO considers how other channels may be benefiting from cross-channel response.

Put another way, integrated fundraising takes a more synergistic approach in which annual giving program managers and directors consider the combined results across the entire program for a specific period of time.

So, why would a nonprofit want to focus on integrated fundraising? Here are four proven benefits:

1. Integrated fundraising can increase overall program ROI

You may see response to individual solicitation methods ebb and flow, but integrated fundraising provides a platform for donor engagement that breaks down barriers and makes it more likely that donors and prospects will respond.

2. Integrated fundraising can help with new donor acquisition

Starting a new relationship is tricky. You probably wouldn’t give to an unfamiliar organization if they asked you once in an e-mail. But what if they informed and asked you in a coordinated effort across e-mail, direct mail, phone, and on social media?

3. Integrated fundraising can attract big donors and upgrade small ones

One of the key benefits to integrated fundraising is its ability to convey to audiences that you really have it together. This “united front” of advancement communications serves to bolster donor confidence and reassure them their gift is a wise philanthropic investment.

4. Integrated fundraising can increase the speed of donor response

One goal of integrated fundraising is to make it as easy as possible for donors to give by whatever vehicle is most convenient in the moment. If your nonprofit is the type of organization that can effectively leverage natural (and human-caused) disasters, then integrated fundraising is essential to rapid response fundraising. 

In today’s annual giving fundraising landscape, every appeal is a potential micro-campaign that can provide multiple ways for people to engage and respond. There is simply no benefit to being territorial about solicitation method performance as long as donors are giving.

This blog post was adapted from the IPM Advancement whitepaper, Integrated Fundraising. Download the whitepaper from our free Nonprofit Resource Library for information on 8 additional metrics that are essential to fundraising success.


On average, new IPM clients see a 34.8% increase in direct mail fundraising acquisition response rates within the first year of working with us. Want to learn more?

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