Innovation. Integration. Immediacy = Online Success for HRC
Once it gets a donor on its file, HRC offers regular communications such as newsletters, letters from the president and event invitations. There’s a strong push for the second gift and for conversion to monthly giving. An online, mid-level giving campaign launched in August 2007 has garnered around 50 donors in the $1,200-to-$5,000 range.
“Integrate, integrate, integrate,” Crowley stresses. “But do so carefully and respectfully. If someone gives online, they get acknowledgment through the mail. You have to communicate with them through many venues.
“If someone reaches out and says, ‘I only want to hear from you in a certain way,’ we of course will respect their wishes. But generally, we tend to do multichannel solicitations to everybody,” she adds.
Grams agrees but maintains that there’s a subtle difference that marks HRC’s success with integration, one that many organizations have yet to discover: “While integration is key,” he says, “it’s sort of more like a salad than a melting pot. There can be independent campaigns within integrated channels. You can run an online campaign that doesn’t follow the traditional mail/phone/e-mail structure. It can all work well together.”
How it started
HRC started and built its online community around a 2003 petition campaign to collect a million signatures to fight the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. According to Grams, 400,000 people signed it in the first year, and that number has since more than doubled. [HRC expects to cross the million-signature mark this year.]
“Then we found ourselves in this place where we had all these new supporters of the organization who hadn’t made a financial contribution but obviously were engaged in our issues,” Crowley says.
Grams says HRC’s conversion program, which began in 2003, raised nearly $1 million online in its first 12 months — the majority of that from new donors — and its online strategy is on track to raise $1.6 million in fiscal year 2008.