A growing number of people are giving even bigger bucks online. A new study, “The Wired Wealthy” by Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research, looks at these major online donors in depth. Read the full study below, or just check out these key points from the study:Major and moderate donors are generous and onlineThe e-mail files surveyed represent one percent of the membership but 32 percent of the revenue for this sector80 percent of the wired wealthy made donations both online and offline72 percent say donating online is more efficient and helps charities reduce administrative costs51 percent said they prefer giving online and 46 percent said that five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts onlineMost charity Web sites are missing opportunities to fully engage wealthy wired with their organizationOnly 40 percent said that most charity Web sites made them feel personally connected to their cause or missionOnly 40 percent said that most charity Web sites are inspiring48 percent felt most charity Web sites are well-designedEmail shows signs of lost opportunities to connect with various donors74 percent said it was appropriate for the charity to send an email reminding them to renew an annual gift74 percent said that an email from the charity about how their donation was spent, and what happened as a result would make them more likely to give again65 percent said they always open and glance at emails from causes they supportThree distinct groups of donors emerged based on the extent to which the donor sees the Internet as a source of connection between themselves and the causesRelationship seekers (29%) – the group most likely to connect emotionally with organizations onlineAll business (30%) – not looking for a relationship or emotional connection, but a smooth and simple donation processCasual connectors (41%) occupy the middle ground, showing some interest in sustaining an online relationship, but also wanting a smooth and simple processNonprofits should create and provide options that let the wired wealthy customize their online experience with the cause, says the study.
Your nonprofit organization needs to have a website. Period. It need not be flashy, overly colorful or even all that pretty-it just has to do its job. Your organization’s website should provide doormats for the major types of visitors, have relevant and timely information, and provide interested parties with your contact information.But, where do you even start? After determining your budget, follow these five steps to create your new website:Register a domain name (at least one):Think about other websites you’ve visited and other organizations you’ve searched for. The web address is straight-forward and relevant to the organization’s name and brand. People can’t visit your website if you don’t have a registered domain. You can get one free for a year through grassroots.org, or begin an inexpensive contract with godaddy.com. If your budget allows, you may consider purchasing more than one domain that all lead to your main webpage. For example, choose a common misspelling, reversal of words in your web address, etc.Develop the initial content for your website:What message or information do people visiting your site need to know? What are the goals of your website? Consider how you will incorporate your call-to-action (contact us, sign up for our listserv, make a donation, sign a petition), and who will be looking at your website. You may have an extremely varied audience-just make sure you’re providing information for each other: donation opportunities, background information and compelling storytelling of why people should care. Take into account the eight things your homepage must have.Determine if a free or really inexpensive option will work for you:Take some time to evaluate sites like Change.org and Grassroots.org. The former allows you to create your own branded social network (complete with online donation capabilities), and the latter has a free web-design/hosting service if you get on their list.Decide who will build your website (if step #3 doesn’t satisfy your organization’s needs, timing and/or format):There are a number of ways to create the page itself: outsourcing the work, creating a page in-house or finding an appropriate application provider (ASP). Read more about each of these options here.Allow your website to accept online donations:With all this “doormat” talk, it’s important to keep in mind that many donors will turn to your website for a quick way to get funds from their wallets to your organization. Network for Good offers an affordable, easy to use online fundraising solution.Once you have your website up and running, keep in mind that it’s an evolving tool and hub of information. Take some time to pat yourself on the back for getting it launched and donor-friendly/ready, but don’t forget to evaluate and re-evaluate how you can keep your site fresh and relevant.
Draw a map. Create a flowchart. Put together some document with all of your database fields and the naming conventions for those fields. Clean up duplicate records often. If you have the time to do this regularly, it can save you time in the future.Essentially the most important ingredient to keeping your housefile (list) clean is to dust it regularly. Empower your organization by coming up with a clear and outlined process of how you collect and store your data. Doing so will allow you keep a tidy housefile that is easy to report on and analyze. Make sure all individuals in your organization have that document. This will ensure that everyone in your organization will use the same naming conventions and mapping process when creating the online forms you use to collect constituents’ information. Source: Connection Cafe If you have uniform response options you want to have listed on multiple choice questions (that are going to be used on many of your online forms), decide upon the answer options and make sure everyone in your organization has a document outlining those response options. Building your housefile (list) is one of the key ingredients in developing a strong online presence. It is important to welcome a constant flow of constituents into your online home. But, what are the next steps in maintaining that list? Once you have a good list going, it is vital to keep that list clean, dust and clutter-free. Mom always told you to keep your room clean. Why should your constituent list be any different?Here are some tips to keeping a clean list:Decide on what data you want to collect and how you want it to be organized in your database. For example, if you want to have a field in your database to store information on constituents’ pets’ names, decide where you want that information to live in the database and how you want to get it there.
I have a pretty boring business card, but that’s about to change. Ever since a designer friend handed me a clear plastic business card with a field for inking a personal note, I realized this is a neglected opportunity.What are you doing to make your card about your cause?Here’s a great source of inspiration from librarians. Librarians rock. Not only do I love them, I think they are marketing superheroes. Here’s the proof. Is this a fabulous card or what? I share her source of power, by the way: coffee.Write me if you have a heroic business card.
Here is my Fundraising Success column for June, featuring my alter ego, the maven.Dear Marketing Maven,My donations are down, my heart is heavy, and my job is on the line. Worse, I think I’m coming down with something. Paging Dr. Dollars!-Sick in SyracuseDear Sick,I don’t need a stethoscope to diagnose these ailments. You’re suffering from one or all of the three most common diseases in the nonprofit world. Sadly, they are at epidemic proportions. We’ve got to stop their spread!#1: “Field of Dreams” syndrome. Those who have this disease believe that, “If you build it, they will come.” By “they,” I mean a big team of generous donors. For example, if you have FODS, you think that if you build a website and stick a DonateNow button on it, donors will arrive and click. This disease also manifests itself as an assumption that uttering your mission statement will inspire people to give. If you find yourself saying, “If people only knew, they would” then you have FODS. Declaring your existence is not a fundraising campaign. It is a symptom of FODS.The cure? You need to reach out to people and build relationships with them. Then maybe they’ll want to support you.#2: “It’s all about us” disease. Nonprofits suffering from this disease are easy to spot — their home pages, emails and all of their correspondence reads like an “About Us” page. Sometimes, this ailment is called “Nonprofit Narcissism.” Mission statements, the history of your organization and other related details should not be found everywhere and do not constitute a strong message.The cure? Make it about your donor, not you. Why should they care? What can they accomplish? How have they changed the world with their support? #3: “Call to inaction” problem. In order to generate donations and increase your donor base, you need to have a clear call to action. It’s not enough to state who you are, what you do and what’s new. You need to clearly state what you are asking and appeal to prospective donors to take that action. “Save the earth” is not a call to action. Nor is “support us.”The cure? Be specific. As in, “Click this button and give us $10 for a bed net so a child will be saved from malaria.”Be well,MavenDear Marketing Maven,Our image is not what I want, so I’m thinking of rebranding with a new logo. Thoughts?-Making Over in HanoverDear Makeover,Bad idea. Branding is not about logos, it’s about how people perceive you. That’s got a lot more to do with how you treat them, how you conduct your programs, and how you communicate your achievements than it has to do with your logo. Don’t spend a cent on a new logo until you dig deeper into these aspects of your brand. Without that level of makeover, a new logo or color palette is about as effective as slapping lipstick on a pig. I don’t think it’s worth spending money on a logo change unless you conclude after fixing everything else that your logo is in direct violation of the brand you’ve built. Happy makeover,MavenDear Marketing Maven,Why did you not open my last eNewsletter?–Hurt in HalifaxDear Hurt,I get about 20 email newsletters a week. I read about two. I must have somehow overlooked yours – I’m sure it was worth a read, unlike the other 18. For what it’s worth, here are some thoughts on newsletters:1. Maybe you don’t need one.People are inundated with newsletters. I’m not the exception – we all get too many. Yawn. Why not put your time and energy into something truly exceptional? Like the packet a friend just got from DonorsChoose to thank him for buying a carpet for a classroom. He got a picture of the kids on the carpet – along with the students’ little handwritten notes and pictures. Wow. Not feasible, you say? How about simply sending out something useful to your audience? At Network for Good, we send out weekly free fundraising tips rather than a newsletter about us. Our nonprofits love it! If you’re an organization focused on diabetes, how about weekly tips for managing diabetes? 2. If you do an enewsletter, don’t forget the “e.”You can’t just slap your print newsletter into a PDF, email it, and consider yourself the editor of an “enewsletter.” Write to the medium. Online communications need to be shorter and formatted for the web. People skim online. They don’t read. Don’t make them download a PDF and turn pages on your computer. Grab attention with photos, short text and good stories. 3. Make it about the donors and not you.Don’t manifest “All about us” disease in your newsletter. Your newsletter should not be about how great you are. It should be about how great your donor is! Make your donor feel like the center of attention. No one can resist reading about themselves – or about what they accomplished.Write on,MavenStay tuned… more on email newsletters in next month’s column!
Empathetic. Donor-centric. Sympathetic. Your marketing communications are “ticking” along as they should be. But, as we’re all painfully aware, the right-side of the brain just loves piping in to talk about numbers, figures, trends and goals.Instead of telling that portion of the brain to buzz off (as I often do), use it to create the fourth and final piece of your online fundraising plan: The Numbers. Below, check out our tips for getting a jump on mapping what your numbers look like now and what you hope they look like later:Budget Tips:Planning to raise money online? Of course you are! Why else would you be developing an online fundraising plan? Be sure to build into your budget what you plan to spend for donation processing. For instance, you can check out our own DonateNow service–great value for a price that won’t eat up your budget.Fixing up your website? Be realistic about the features you need versus the features you want. Set up your budget ahead of time, and don’t be distracted by shiny objects: your website is a tool and a resource, not a fireworks show.Thinking about advertising? If you’re considering developing banner ads or other paid online outreach, remember to keep in mind the various items you’re paying for: design, development and placement costs.Hiring extra help? You may be planning to use the talents of a copywriter for your website or consultant to help you out. Those folks often like to get paid–go figure. And in planning this line item, do some brainstorming about how you might cut costs: Maybe a graphic designer (could be a student) will donate time or a communications intern can develop testimonials for your website.Tracking, Benchmarking, Reporting Tips:DonateNow. Are you a DonateNow customer? If so, don’t forget to log into your account to check out your donor reports. You can even track your campaigns by evaluating the tracking codes for different DonateNow buttons on your site and in your emails. Email messaging. Determine an evaluation schedule for monitoring your e-communications. Will you track the number of donors (past and new) directly tied to your email communications? Monitor giving levels of donors receiving your emails versus those who are not.Website traffic. Sign up for Google Analytics to evaluate site traffic. Work language into your online fundraising plan about how you will determine which content is most appealing and how you will increase visibility of that content while simultaneously finding a way to tie in giving opportunities.Testing. Not happy with your fundraising results? Test out new ideas! Vary your email messaging and mix around your website a bit. Testing is a vital piece of the puzzle when working to improve your numbers!
Imagine you had to mobilize an audience of working moms to advocate for paid sick days – something that too few receive.You could talk about the importance of paid sick days for the working mom. Yawn.Or you could use humor and interactivity to relate to how moms experience this issue – which is by living in fear of getting ill and avoiding sick people like the plague.I pick door #2.So did RisingMoms. This is the first RisingMoms email (and they send too many) I’ve really liked – because it makes the issue sticky and VIRAL!