Donor Focus: Getting John Q. Public to Hug a Tree
Roughly 100,000 subscribers receive the “Backyard Wildlife Habitat” newsletter, a segmented publication that provides tips and news for people who live in rural areas throughout the country. Thus far, more than 800,000 donors and prospects have signed up at www.NWF.org to receive new updates pertaining to wildlife and conservation issues via e-mail.
The Internet certainly has presented myriad opportunities “to reach folks we are not reaching now who are receptive to our work,” McGuire notes.
The National Resources Defense Council recorded a strong year in 2003, taking in $47 million in total donations — a significant increase from 2002, where it took in $32 million. NRDC also increased membership income from 17.5 million to 22 million.
“We have had a solid couple of years in terms of fundraising and membership growth, and one of the big positive changes, particularly, has been with our online fundraising and activism,” says Jack Murray, development director of New York-based NRDC.
The charity’s Web site, www.NRDC.org, features a section called “Earth Action Center,” where visitors can send elected officials personalized e-mails on just about every issue threatening natural resources. Among the hot topics: “Tell the EPA to phase out ozone-destroying, cancer-causing methyl bromide”; and “Urge your representative to help restore our oceans’ declining fish stocks.”
“This is a pretty active group,” Murray shares. “They write letters, send e-mails, make phone calls and sign petitions.”
NRDC boasts more than 550,000 “online activists” — individuals defined internally as those who take action on behalf of the organization and might or might not contribute actual dollars.
While the organization has broadened its reach via the Web, Murray has observed that NRDC’s online activists are just as well educated and affluent as their offline counterparts but are significantly younger. Direct mail contributors are in their 50s, while online prospects and donors hover around age 30.