The most effective fundraising channels for soliciting donations

most effective donor channels

This week, our agency Redbird Communications released Motivate and Convince: the Most Effective Tactics for Attracting Donors and Volunteers, a free research report for non-profits. In the report, we revealed some interesting research about the most effective channels for soliciting donations.

Here is a sample from the report. If interested, you can download the full report here. Note: the sources and references to the studies mentioned here can be found in the full report. 

The most effective channels for soliciting donations

According to national surveys, Canadians make donations most frequently in response to a request through the mail (16%), when asked by someone in a public place such as on the street or in a shopping centre (12%), or in response to door-to-door canvassing (12%). The most common methods of donating do not, however, produce the most dollars for charitable and nonprofit organizations.

Research shows that 11% of donations that were made through places of worship accounted for 42% of all donated dollars, whereas the 16% of donations made through the mail accounted for only 1% of the value of donations. This suggests that organizations would be wise to measure the yield of their various campaign channels, as the response rate is not as important as the total amount raised. The channel mix should be selected for greatest yield, or return on fundraising investment.

Research shows that the most effective channels for soliciting donations, those with the highest value per donation, are TV or radio requests, charity events, memorial requests, at work, and telephone requests.

Least successful fundraising channels 

The least successful channels, those yielding the lowest value per donation are direct mail requests, requests from on the street or at shopping centers, door to door canvassing, and sponsoring someone for an event.

This means that organizations should analyze the effectiveness of their own recent donation campaigns and develop innovative fundraising initiatives centered on the highest yielding channels.

Research has also shown that over 40% of individuals are dissatisfied with the information they receive from non-profits on the uses of donated funds. Organizations need to incorporate persuasive scorecard metrics into individual fundraising efforts, and thereby overcome the reluctance of skeptical potential donors.

Free Redbird Research Report: The Most Effective Tactics for Attracting Donors and Volunteers

Redbird has released a free research report for non-profits.

In the report, you'll find:

  • most effective fundraising channels Research on approaching business leaders, corporations, and foundations for support.
  • Research and actionable insights on the most effective fundraising tactics.
  • Research on donor motivations and psychology.
  • Research and tactics on attracting and retaining volunteers.
  • Analytical commentary, tables, and graphs.


Get your free report (instant download)  


About Redbird Communications

Redbird Communications is a marketing communications agency in Victoria, British Columbia, that works with non-profits, social enterprises, government ministries and other private and public-sector organizations.

Founded in 2001, we provide research, strategic planning, creative services, and public relations to clients in BC, Ontario, and beyond. Redbird has developed province-wide awareness campaigns, including our most recent ‘Signs of Stroke’ campaign for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon. For that campaign, we helped to raise $250,000 from pharmaceutical sponsors to fund the media buy, and created TV and radio spots, print collateral, and online advertising.

For more resources, tips, and strategic advice follow us on Twitter (@Redbirdcomms).