Improving Performance with Information and Insight
Published by Lehman Associates

A Lack of Integration Undermines Effective Communications and Marketing

Personalized communication requires knowledge of the donor or member (or prospects). Whether using an in-house or contracted email marketing system or a more robust marketing automation solution, the successful marketer or fundraiser levels this knowledge to deliver appropriate and timely content. In turn the use of this personalized communication can bring about higher rates of conversion, greater levels of engagement, and increased donations. The source of this information for most organizations are the individual profiles within the member or donor management system.

A critical component of the 360 degree view of the member or donor is the set of interactions that individual has had with the organization such as response to previous email, website use, participation in events and conferences, social media interactions, and advocacy actions. Increasingly these interactions take place within third-party applications, generally online and outside of the member or donor management system.

360 ViewIntegration between these applications and the central member or donor management system is critical. The third-party applications require information about the individual such as member or donor status and email address, and in turn, the management system needs information about participation so it can be added to the member or donor profile.

Based on findings from the Lehman Reports studies, this required level of integration is largely lacking, severely limiting those organizations from making effective use of personalized communications. For six of eight third-party applications frequently used by associations, fewer than one-half are integrated with that association’s member management system. Research on donor management systems suggests a similar pattern for those nonprofits.


Associations and other nonprofits need to move quickly to integration these applications. Doing so will insure a more complete member or donor record that will in turn translate to more effective communication, marketing, and fundraising programs.