An Action Appeal
An Action Appeal
Oct. 11, 2005
By Abny Santicola, associate editor, FundRaising Success
Geoff Handy, director of e-community for Washington, D.C.-based animal-welfare organization Humane Society of the United States, advises nonprofits to create Web sites that both advocate and fundraise by focusing more on online campaigns than online fundraising appeals.
A primarily direct-mail driven organization, HSUS raises just less than 2 percent of its adjusted gross income online, Handy says. While the organization is cautious in terms of integrating its online and offline campaigns and is beginning to consider testing to integrate and coordinate direct mail and e-mail, it's found success using the Web to run online campaigns "that may or may not include an actual direct appeal for funds," Handy says.
"We run online campaigns instead of appeals, and so we basically organize our Web work around active campaigns on a variety of issues that involve an online action such as writing Congress or e-mailing a corporation," Handy adds. He recommends nonprofits "run online campaigns instead of one-off appeals and really create a dialog around your online file or your online constituents around these campaigns." That means nonprofits should run multi-level campaigns, which require action and engage potential donors for longer, unlike one-off appeals that may not encourage donors to follow through.
To illustrate the difference between an online appeal and a campaign, Handy uses an example of a three-part "protect the seals" campaign HSUS ran online to its full housefile. The campaign involved three e-mails, beginning with a campaign kickoff on March 16, then a donation appeal on March 29 and a campaign wrap-up on April 11. The campaign was tied to the beginning of the seal hunt in Canada, Handy says, which begins on March 29, the same day the e-mail appeal for money went out. The campaign was very successful, he says, driving people through the e-mails to sign a pledge to boycott Canadian seafood.