10 Tips for Fundraising in Tough Times
[This is] a challenging year. In addition to the recession, we are also seeing some other troubling indicators. Direct mail-based donor acquisition is getting harder and more expensive due to postage rate increases, mailing list fatigue and postal mail delivery challenges. Many nonprofits have cut back on direct mail-based acquisition efforts as donor files shrink and current communication approaches fail to align with a more empowered “new breed of donor” — constituents who value transparency about how their funds are being applied, are increasingly taking an active role in their philanthropy and have high expectations as to how they should be communicated to online.
Current economic conditions, the shift toward online marketing and the trends in donor empowerment make a strong case for investing in an effective online marketing program.
Money raised online can now more than justify the start-up costs for your online marketing efforts, and is just the tip of the iceberg of the true value created by effectively integrating online marketing with your direct mail and major donor development efforts. Here are 10 basic best practices for nonprofits to get started:
1. Ensure your Web site makes the right first impression. Prospective donors, including potential major donors, are very likely to visit your site before making a gift in any channel.
2. Collect e-mail addresses for current donors. Communicating online with donors enhances their value. Few organizations have e-mails for more than 30 percent of their active donors.
3. Optimize your Web site to convert visitors to e-mail subscribers. Most nonprofits still do a poor job in this area. Target a 3 percent conversion rate of unique visitors to new subscribers.
4. Make every communication count. Consumers are inundated with marketing messages. Write e-mails with a constituent-centric view and steer clear of sending non-compelling material just because your calendar indicates it is time to send a newsletter.