Integrating Online and Offline
To date, the ASPCA has a total base of 735,000 active donors—anyone who has given a gift of $5 or more within the last 24 months—and of that, 5 percent are online donors. Few differences exist between donors who give online and those who gravitate toward offline channels. The typical ASPCA donor is a female, 65 or older, who shares her home with a pet. Donors who give online tend to be about 10 years younger.
What Sullivan finds interesting is that of the 5 percent who are online donors, 2.5 percent give offline just as easily. This observation has led Sullivan to differentiate between donors with e-mails and those without, rather than between online and offline donors. This mind-set also is reflected in the way the ASPCA integrates its direct marketing channels.
"If you give the ASPCA your very first gift ever online, you'll get mail from us in the future. What we're finding is that we don't have that many people that are unique to a channel. They give in whatever channel inspires them, if it's in front of them," Sullivan explains.
Of course, some donors who make their first gift online continue only to donate online, despite receiving mail and telemarketing appeals. However, Sullivan feels its offline channels reinforce the choice donors make to give online.
The significant difference is the average dollar value of a donation. "People who give online tend to give a little higher average gift than they do offline," Sullivan observes. The average offline gift is $36, whereas the average online gift is $55.
This discovery led Sullivan to tie the nonprofit's mail and e-mail programs more closely together. Prior to mailing a renewal campaign, the ASPCA will send an e-mail to its members calling attention to the fact that a renewal package with their member card is on its way. According to Sullivan, the e-mail pre-alert uses the same graphics as the mail package and may include copy that reads something like: "Put your money to work harder or faster, renew now."