10 Ways to Enhance Traditional and Web Fundraising Efforts
All of the sessions I attended at the DMA Nonprofit Federation 2007 Annual Washington Nonprofit Conference last week presented case studies and examples that demonstrated the successful implementation of various fundraising strategies, and armed attendees with actionable tips to take back to the office at the conference’s end.
Sharing tips was actually the sole purpose of one of the final sessions at the conference, in which a panel of speakers went over 30 traditional and Web direct marketing tips in 45 minutes.
Tip-touting speakers for the session included: Harry Lynch, CEO of Sanky Communications; Liz Murphy, partner at Red Boots Consulting; Suzanne Cole Nowers, founder of Nexus Direct; Lane Brooks, director of development of Public Citizen; and Shannon Murphy, director of production for Adams Hussey & Associates.
Here, 10 of the most useful tips they touched on:
1. If your organization is redesigning its Web site, be aware that you don’t want to lose your position with search engines through the redesign. Do search engine optimization so you won’t lose all of your hard won visibility in the search engines.
2. Rekindle the first love. If you have multiple reasons why someone might give, a one line sentence that reiterates why a donor originally gave a gift, even if it’s unrelated to the point of the mailing, can enhance response.
3. Re-mail a direct-mail appeal four or five weeks after the first drop. Include a buckslip that says something like, “I know we sent you a package, but I haven’t heard from you.” In terms of e-mail, a week after sending out an e-mail campaign, segment those people who didn’t open the original e-mail and resend the e-mail to them. Or, if you don’t have the technology to segment those people who didn’t open the e-mail, just re-send the e-mail to everyone and include at the top something that instructs them to disregard the e-mail if they’ve already responded to it.
4. Triple the match. It increases revenue more than 100 percent more than a straight match. There should be a specific URL regarding details of the match where potential donors can go to learn more about it. Start gift levels at $100 and show a visual that illustrates the value of a donation with the match, e.g., “Your donation of $100 equals $300.”
5. Have a printable donation form on your site for people who would rather mail in their contribution. A significant slice of the population are reluctant to use their credit card online, whether it’s due to fears of identity theft or privacy concerns. Make sure the form is easy to find, you can link to it from multiple locations on the Web site and that you include a link that says something like, “Click here if you’d like to donate by check.”
6. Test expanding the message of your mission. Go deeper. One way to do this is by developing special projects with a start and end date, and deadline for donations. Be in depth about where the money is going, when it will be used, etc.
7. Try a carrier envelope that is simple and sparse. When everyone is shouting, sometimes a whisper can cut through the clutter.
8. Get over the fact that a direct-mail package has to look a certain way. Personal, simple packages that look like they were created by a human being will attract attention.
9. Get real with what you’re sending out. Do a real survey to find out what people are thinking about your organization.
10. Don’t just obsess about the subject line of your e-mail blasts. Obsess about the from line, too. Both are the equivalent of the outside envelope in direct mail. Test to figure out what works, e.g., the organization name, the director or president’s name, or the campaign name. Be aware that you’re working with a limited number of characters. If your organization has a long name, it may need to be abbreviated. So test!