Turning Fundraising on Its Head
Since embarking on a revamped online strategy, the Hope Institute has increased its e-philanthropy numbers across the board.
Its e-mail newsletter has an average open rate of approximately 30 percent and an average clickthrough rate of 18 percent, though the numbers vary per e-mail — and in the past three months, the clickthrough rate has jumped to 34 percent.
The social-media numbers have followed suit. When Brown joined Hope, its YouTube page had a total of 3,000 views. As of mid-October, that number has skyrocketed to more than 117,000 total views, and on a monthly basis, Hope gets anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 views on its YouTube channel, according to Brown. The Hope Institute Facebook page went from right around 200 fans to more than 2,400 at press time, while the autism program's Facebook page went from about 200 fans to more than 2,400 as well. And the Twitter following has gone from a couple of dozen to nearly 1,900 for the organization, while the autism program's Twitter following went from about three dozen to more than 2,600.
Thanks in part to its e-mail marketing and social-media growth, the Hope Institute also was successful in both the Pepsi Refresh and Toyota 100 Cars for Good contests. In May 2010, the Autism Program of Illinois won a $25,000 grant, and in June 2010 the Noll Dental Clinic won a $50,000 grant as part of the Pepsi Refresh Challenge. This year, Toyota awarded the Hope Institute a van as part of its contest.
Further, event attendance has grown by nearly 20 percent thanks to these efforts. Now, including event registrations, 15 percent of the Hope Institute's overall donations are collected online.
And it's all due to this revamped online strategy, which started with the website redesign. In just six months after the redesign in October 2010, page views went from 4,000 average views per month to 35,000 average views per month, an increase of 750 percent — proving that the goal of driving people to the site is paying off.