Integrated Fundraising Communications
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On Sesame Street, Big Bird had a best friend, Snuffleupagus. The only problem was that, in the beginning, no one else seemed to be able to see him. Snuffleupagus disappeared or slipped through the cracks when someone other than Big Bird turned up on the Street.

When it comes to integrated marketing efforts, e-renewals are kind of like Snuffleupagus. They have a funny name, and when they were new to the neighborhood, they were hard to find in an overall direct response plan. As the new kid on the block, they were kept separate from the ‘real’ renewals.

But even Snuffleupagus came out of hiding and eventually went from being an ‘imaginary friend’ to one of the regular residents of Sesame Street. And, while he got to keep his funny name – I’m not so sure that e-renewals need to do the same.

At the end of the day, the things that we’ve taken to calling e-renewals are really just components of an organization’s overall renewal strategy. These are singular tactical elements supporting overall objectives. They are not different than the membership-card driven mail package or simple statement package that might be mailed as a part of a ‘traditional’ renewal series.

We’ve moved past the nascent stage of setting the non-mail renewal components of a campaign apart from the others. Like Snuffleupagus, digital and phone contact methods need to come out and join the rest of the gang. Digital elements like email and targeted advertising as well as the use of telemarketing are now quite common renewal techniques. When we plan a Renewal Campaign, it should always include using the most effective channels to reach our audience in the most compelling ways possible to drive response and ultimately donations.

Creating a wholly separate E-Renewal Campaign implies that it is not integrated with an organization’s primary renewal efforts. It has the potential to separate the effort via timing, audience, message, and measurement. This unnecessarily bifurcates the renewal efforts; and importantly, could leave the donor wondering when or if they really need to renew TODAY?

At ABD Direct, we believe fundraising efforts should be considered in a holistic way, and as a result, we believe that a single ‘campaign’ can take advantage of a number of different communication channels to reach specific audiences with the right message at the right moment.

So the next time you’re considering calling something an e-renewal, remember Snuffalupagus was happier when he got to hang out with everyone on Sesame Street and just include the message in your integrated renewal plan.