Turning Fundraising on Its Head
As the world becomes more digital every day, online fundraising continues to grow in importance and volume. But it's unrealistic to expect donors to give online if you don't engage them first. That's the name of the game in e-philanthropy: engagement.
In FundRaising Success' fourth and final (for 2011) installment of successful case studies from the past year-plus, we take a look at how two organizations improved their e-philanthropy in different ways: The Hope Institute for Children and Families and the Be the Match Foundation.
For the Hope Institute, a whole new online strategy was devised to grow its supporter base and drive traffic to its redesigned website, while the Be the Match Foundation embarked on an ongoing, online peer-to-peer fundraising program to empower its constituents on its behalf.
The Hope Institute for Children and Families
Two years ago, the Hope Institute for Children and Families — a nonprofit that provides educational, residential and health services to children with multiple developmental disabilities including autism — had very little direction online. So the Springfield, Ill.-based organization brought in online marketing and communications expert Jarid Brown to help correct that.
Brown was hired as director of online interaction and tasked with devising an online communications and fundraising strategy for the organization.
"When I came on board  months ago, Hope was in a position where it really had no clear direction online," Brown says. "There was no e-mail marketing strategy. The website was old. The content and language needed some work. There was no online donation button — very fledgling. We were starting from scratch."
The first step in implementing a cohesive, comprehensive online strategy is to map out the organization's goals. Considering how far behind the Hope Institute was, Brown laid out ambitious yet realistic goals. A website redesign was at the forefront of the conversation. The Hope Institute needed a more user-friendly site that would direct donors and supporters where to go to find pertinent information, ways to get involved and how to donate.