Innovation. Integration. Immediacy = Online Success for HRC
Even though the area of GLBT advocacy is rife with opportunities to rally the public, HRC’s success is about much more than just well-leveraged serendipity. In fact, whether you’re talking about direct-response marketing, street canvassing, monthly giving conversions or the all-important channel integration equation, if there’s something that a cutting-edge nonprofit should be doing, then HRC probably is doing it, and doing it really, really well.
On the streets
While popular in other parts of the world, street and door-to-door fundraising haven’t yet hit their stride in the U.S. But HRC has been honing the art of face-to-face fundraising for more than a decade.
“For a long time, like many nonprofits that have been around as long as we have, we acquired most of our donors the typical way — through direct mail and telemarketing,” Grams says. “As our online endeavors grew, acquisition online has grown proportionately. But the biggest source of acquisition for HRC remains street and door-to-door canvassing. [We have] representatives knocking on doors in certain neighborhoods or standing on street corners and stopping anyone walking by, asking them to join HRC.
“We’re one of a handful of organizations that have made this work,” he adds.
One of the biggest problems with street canvassing for donations is donor retention. Sure, you might be able to get someone to give you a one-off contribution in the heat of the moment on a street corner, or maybe people even give because it seems like the quickest way to get out of the conversation and on with their day, but how do you keep those donors engaged — and giving?
HRC solved that problem by going to a monthly giving model with its street-canvassing and door-to-door campaigns, requiring long-term commitments from its street-acquired supporters.
The result: The organization now is acquiring 12,000 to 15,000 new monthly donors annually.