28 Ideas for Digital Fundraising Success, Part 1 (1-10)
[Editor's note: This is part 1 of a three-part series on the session "Rapid Fire: Tips and Trends on Web, Tech and Social Media" at Fund Raising Day in New York.]
The days of single-channel communications are long gone. That means fundraisers must be proficient at carrying out their campaigns through every medium that their donors use.
While there are tried-and-true methods to draw upon in traditional media such as direct mail and telecommunications, online, social media and mobile are still relatively new by comparison.
In their presentation at Fund Raising Day in New York last month, four fundraising professionals provided 28 ideas for digital fundraising success. Here are ideas 1-10 shared by Liz Murphy, president of RedEngine Digital; Lane Brooks, COO of Food and Water Watch; Ann Crowley, membership and online strategy at Human Rights Campaign; and Harry Lynch, CEO of SankyNet.
1. Mobilize or be left behind
In June, more e-mail was read on mobile devices than desktops, according to Return Path. And people aren't just opening their e-mail on mobile devices — they're donating as well. It's important to focus first on a mobile-friendly site, forms and e-mails.
2. Like TV, a good fundraising e-mail series ends in a payoff
The first e-mail should educate the donor and provide a call to action. The second e-mail should include a little education and a more urgent call to action. The third e-mail should be a direct request for funding to address the need. And the process should be repeated as needed.
3. Just do it
Set up your technical, programmatic and day-to-day infrastructure. Try everything at least once, keeping in mind budget of course. There's no harm in "lessons learned." And track what your "competitors," i.e., other organizations similar to yours, are doing.
4. Add Google+ to your fundraising toolbox
Recent changes to Google's algorithm make having an active Google+ page essential to maintaining high search rankings. If you want donors to find you online and make gifts, add Google+.
5. Test landing pages
Test iterations and placements of your control headlines, subhead, images, calls to action, words, color of buttons, etc. Also test reducing your page elements to a single focus so the donor's path is better defined, but don't forget to provide enough copy to overcome obstacles to the call to action. Test "you/benefits" copy vs. "what it is" copy. And ask your webmaster to create a nonstandard CMS template for your landing page tests — limited navigation and promotion asks.
6. 'Renew' your prospects
Action takers think of themselves as members, so treat them as such. Don't ask them to join. Ask them to renew their memberships.
7. Social media puts the 'fun' back in fundraising
Add some personality to your social media and have fun.
9. Create an inventory of Facebook ads
After you create that inventory, refresh your ads twice a week. Within 72 hours, the average clickthrough rate for a Facebook ad campaign dives along with your ad visibility and reach, according to WebTrends, and you pay more per click. So create at least eight to 12 ads (text and graphics) or posts for a Facebook advertising campaign at the onset, and test two or three sets of ad creative each week.
10. Test everything in your Facebook ads
Images and copy make a difference and need to be rotated and refreshed. Also test sponsored stories ads against traditional ads. And take advantage of popular and engaging Facebook posts with page post ads.
Check back for ideas 11-20 and 21-28.