Innovation. Integration. Immediacy = Online Success for HRC
Traditional vs. online
At its core, of course, fundraising is fundraising. There’s always a compelling story that must be told, and there’s always an ask or other call to action that must be made.
But the beauty of e-mail and online fundraising, Grams and Crowley agree, is its immediacy. The main thing any organization can do to make the most of the Internet and e-mail is to have the infrastructure in place that allows it to get e-mails out as soon as an opportunity presents itself — to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.
“When people are hurt or angry is the best time to get them involved,” Grams says. “HRC does a good job of moving on these situations when they arise — not just to raise money but to raise public awareness and support. You send out e-mails immediately … it’s a relevant opportunity to get people engaged. With direct mail, there’s no immediate, snap-of-the-finger opportunity to do that.”
Crowley adds: “[It’s important to] have the software in place that allows you to do mass e-mail immediately so that when something breaks or happens you can make the most of it.”
Other differences when comparing e-mail to direct mail:
■ the more casual tone of e-mail;
■ the immediate returns and feedback;
■ the rapidly changing best practices for e-mail, such as best days to send, vs. a more tried-and-true set of best practices for direct mail;
■ and, of course, new opportunities for mistakes.
That last one is a biggie, which makes it imperative that there’s a rigorous quality-control plan in place when organizations utilize e-mail messaging. Of course, you can “correct” an e-mail boo-boo with a quick resend, but given the breadth of the mistake, it might not be good enough.