“E” Is for Engagement
Everyone had to be wondering the same thing I was wondering as we sat in a room at the JW Marriott Hotel toward the end of the DMA Nonprofit Federation’s 2008 Washington Nonprofit Conference in Washington, D.C., last week: How is Tom Gaffny going to pull off a session titled “‘E’ Is for Engagement: 65 Organizations, A Case Study”?
I pictured the executive vice president of fundraising for Epsilon in a cowboy hat, scatting into a microphone like the auctioneer at a livestock sale. (I guess I was the only one who went that far, but like I said, the conference was winding down.)
But he did it … with aplomb. The gist of the session was that Gaffny made online contributions to 145 nonprofit organizations and then tracked their responses. His findings were fascinating, sometimes astounding. For example, 49 of those organizations never even acknowledged the gift. (Yes, there was indeed an audible, collective gasp.)
In the end, Gaffny whittled down the best practices of the best e-efforts into these 12 tips:
1. Be relevant. Be local.
2. Highlight video on your Web site.
3. Engage constituents (quizzes, games, video, etc.).
4. Leverage techniques that work in the mail (matching gifts, headlines, Post-its, etc.).
5. Send information in bite-sized chunks.
6. Work at channel integration.
7. Personalize your organization.
8. Be visual.
9. Say thank you in different ways.
10. Ask “friends” to get the word out.
11. Be timely. Be there.
12. Highlight your partners.