Do your online campaigns fall flat? You might be missing something, such has the things outlined recently at Branded Out Loud blog: 12 Elements of a Great Online Fundraising Campaign. They include:
- A concept that immediately makes donors feel good.
- A great call to action.
- Easy but profound ways for people to help.
- Tools to help people spread the word about your campaign.
- Success stories to showcase.
- Tools to help people raise funds for you.
Pay especial attention to that second one, a great call to action. It’s the piece most often missed in online fundraising. (It’s often missing in fundraising of all media, in fact.)
You aren’t really fundraising until you’ve got a well-crafted fundraising offer: Something specific and compelling that your donor can do.
The Non-Profit Marketer blog takes a good look at weak nonprofit branding efforts at The myth that you are different.
He cites the common brand-building practice of getting all the “stakeholders” to express what the organization is about and shape that into a compelling brand. (Stakeholders are usually leaders, staff, and board members. Sometimes beneficiaries. Seldom donors.)
While that internal approach can help rally the troops, it fails to produce a strong brand.
John’s concern is that the internal focus can make you miss the competition factor: When you look inward, you probably won’t notice that there are other organizations reaching out to your donors.
That’s true. But I think something even more harmful happens: You buy into the dangerous myth is that what you think is exciting is the same thing everyone else thinks exciting, and what you dislike turns off everyone else too.
Self-marketing brand. You end up with trendy design and high-flown, abstract descriptions of the mission. Amazingly often, nonprofits conclude during an inward-looking branding exercise that they don’t really do the activities they’ve been doing all along, but instead create hope.
There’s a way out of this trap. Look outward. Discover who your donors are. Then find out what excites them. Do a lot of testing and see what they actually respond to and give money for.
That’s how you build a brand that expands your reach and empowers you to do more.
It’s available here (PDF; registration required).
There’s a ton of must-see stuff for anyone who raising funds online. Here’s just one of the many findings:
This chart shows giving over a three year period by online donors using three different venue types through Network for Good. The difference in performance among the donors is startling.
Blue line: Donors who gave through a charity’s website. These donors gave an average of 0 in their first year with a charity. After two years, their average cumulative giving had risen to 7.
Orange line: Donors who gave through a social networking site, like Facebook Causes or Change.org. These donors gave 3 in their first year, and only managed to add another over the course of three years.
Meaning: a donor’s relationship with the charity makes a financially significant difference over time. The more connected they are at the beginning of the relationship the more subsequent giving. Giving portals create a loose connection between charities and donors. Social networking sites build very little connection at all.
What does this all mean?
- Put most of your online fundraising efforts into getting donors giving on your own website. Portal and social network giving will happen, and that’s fine It’ just not where the revenue is.
- Do your best to move donors from the low-connection venues to your website.