5 Internet Strategy-building Musts
The Internet offers a wealth of opportunity for nonprofit fundraisers. But online fundraising is anything but a no-brainer. Successful e-philanthropy requires a strategic approach that involves research, testing and coordination.
In a session two weeks ago at the Fund Raising Day in New York 2007 conference, Harry Lynch, CEO of Sanky Communications, an integrated fundraising and communications firm, and Paul Habig, director of Internet services for SankyNet, discussed the process of building an Internet strategy.
What follows are their five building blocks to an effective online strategy:
1. Leveraging demographics. The key takeaway here is “remember your audience.” Know who your best donors are, and offer them multiple ways to give to your organization. When creating your Web site and e-appeals, keep in mind type size and monitor resolution (different resolutions can determine what shows up on screen and what doesn’t).
Some of your constituents might be comfortable online but still prefer giving by mail. Give constituents the option in e-appeals and on your online donation page of using a printable giving form that they can use to donate by mail, and include a trackable code on the form.
Make sure that online credit card processing of donations is secure, and state it on your site. Lynch advised even including the word “secure” in your giving page URL for emphasis.
2. Retaining donors. A key to retention of online donors is an up-to-date Web site, Habig said. Most nonprofits redesign their site every three to five years. In terms of Web site usability, stick with logically delineated navigation and limit the amount of clicks it takes to donate (visitors should always be just one click away from donating). Optimize the site for fundraising, keeping donation asks prominent and above the fold, and create pathways to interactive features on your site that engage, educate and entertain visitors. An example of this noted by the presenters was a virtual tour on Freedom From Hunger’s Web site that allows visitors to tour every country the organization is working in.