From Buttons to Blogs
- Special-event fundraising groups have raised a substantial portion of revenue online (up to 75 percent). Much of this revenue is new as participants using online tools have expanded their reach and average gift.
- International-relief agencies have garnered substantial funds online in response to disasters — 39 percent of all tsunami gifts came online, according the Direct Marketing Association’s Nonprofit Federation. Not only has the Internet been a great vehicle for collecting funds from new supporters, but some groups have proactively raised funds through e-mail appeals sent during and outside of disasters.
- Advocacy groups have built large lists of activists and have mobilized them to support initiatives. Some also have been effective at converting activists to donors through online and off-line solicitation.
- Health- and member-oriented groups providing strong online content and community engagement opportunities have attracted growing numbers of supporters and have successfully converted them to donors, advocates and event participants.
The way groups organize also drives success. Successful groups have:
- Executive-level recognition that the Internet is strategic and warrants investment of organizational resources;
- Embraced online marketing in an integrated fashion and realized that it is important to “organize around the constituent” — adapt to their preferences, interests and participation history;
- Ensured that fundraising/marketing functions either control or have an active voice in the strategy for the Web;
- Adopted a proactive outbound communications and solicitation approach;
- Deployed the right systems necessary to interact holistically with constituents; and
- Organically built large e-mail lists for both current supporters and prospects instead of relying on tactics including list appends or rentals.
Unfortunately, many groups have not followed these principles and are not succeeding. The single biggest constraint on success is a lack of executive understanding of the potential value of the Internet. Technology has advanced greatly in the last five years, but there is an acute lack of administrators who both understand the nuances of the Web and also are strong communicators and fundraisers.