Integration – four definitions

If you find that people mean different things when they talk about ‘integration’, you’re not alone. I’m running a session on this at IOF London next week, along with Lucy Gower of NSPCC, Liz Tait from Battersea, Nick Burne from Think and Max du Bois of Spencer du Bois. Here’s the blog entry I wrote to introduce our four areas of integration…

In the language spoken by us citizens of charity marketing land, the word ‘integration’ has come to mean many things. The same is true of ‘strategy’, ‘engagement’, ‘stewardship’ and other words, but I’ll leave those for another time. The multiple meanings of something as important as integration serve to confuse or even paralyse and can lead to poor decision-making.

So, before you consider whether integration is right for you, here’s my attempt at pulling the word apart into four distinct areas:

1.    Departmental Integration – working with other fundraising or communications colleagues towards a common goal

2.    Touchpoint and Media Integration – integrating fundraising across multiple touchpoints and channels, understanding the interaction between them so that the whole of the activity is greater than the sum of the parts

3.    Brand Integration – the integration of brand communication goals with that of fundraising, so that brand and fundraising are working in harmony and avoiding battles

4.    Service Integration – bringing fundraising closer to the end product of the charity (the reason we’re raising the money), to enable new and combined fundraising and service delivery opportunities

It’s important to make these distinctions, as each area has its own benefits and challenges – all four areas of integration are not right for all charities and situations. What is important is to consider each area, as in its various forms greater integration is usually a good idea.

So now, when some know-it-all asks you the ‘how integrated is your fundraising’ question, you can respond smugly with, ‘what sort of integration do you mean?’.

 

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