Posted by Jay Wilkinson

Nonprofits can raise money either online or offline, but the bottom line is that online fundraising trumps traditional methods in several ways. Here are some of its advantages:

1. It’s more cost effective.
One print campaign can cost you thousands of dollars to implement. And while it’s true that a direct mail piece may elicit a better response than an email message, email marketing can be very effective. If you send 20,000 email messages—and effectively connect to a tiny fraction of the constituents—it may cost pennies on the dollar compared to mailing enough printed pieces to achieve the same response.

2. It’s fast to implement.
If I implement an online campaign today, I’ll know within 24 hours whether or not it’s going to work. Within 48 hours, I’ll know if it’s a success. With traditional direct mail, it could take from a few weeks to a couple of months before I have any indication of its effectiveness. Plus, an online campaign can be launched quickly, whereas a traditional campaign takes more planning, time and resources.

3. It’s more personalized and targeted.
When I’m emailing, I can easily target different groups with different messages—it’s much easier to segment my audience. How I appeal to Baby Boomer women would be much different than how I appeal to 25-year-old males. It’s possible that these two groups have similar values, but the way they make decisions and what they respond to is likely quite different.

4. It’s easy to analyze results.
Analytics tools make it possible to review statistics, data and details so we can easily understand how the campaign is working.

These are just four advantages of online fundraising. I’m not saying direct mail is dead—there is definitely a place for it. In fact, if it’s used properly, it can still have huge ROI. But online fundraising is so effective that it should be an integral part of every nonprofit’s marketing strategy.