Hello, I Love You; Won't You Tell Me Your Name
'I Heard It Through the Grapevine'
Are you giving your electronic followers news that is truly news? Posting "hot" updates on Facebook or sending a tweet to announce an expanded program makes your news more relevant — and more appreciated. This morning I had an e-mail from my favorite airline announcing a big purchase of aircraft it made. A few hours later, I heard it on the news. I felt like I was "in the know," because I had gotten the news first from the source. If you're posting content that matters to your followers (not just to your staff), you're building deeper relationships that can lead to donations.
'More Than a Feeling'
One nonprofit that does a particularly good job of cultivating donors online sends an annual certificate (via e-mail) to thank me for my support. It corresponds to the month of my first donation to the organization. It has my name on it, and it's colorful — something I'm sure many people print out. I don't think this organization appreciates my support … I know it! Fans and followers want to be appreciated, too. Invite them to vote on a new name for your newsletter, sign a petition, or watch an interesting and short video. Send an occasional e-mail or post a message just to say "thank you" for your interest in our nonprofit. Be creative about ways to make your online conversation about them (not just you).
'Reach Out, I'll Be There'
Once in a while, you just have to ask. Invite your fans and followers to invest in something you are doing that is clearly mission-focused. Keep your "cost of admission" low, and tie it to a specific deliverable. For example, "Help us give a child back-to-school supplies for $8." Some of your fans and friends are ready to become donors, so make that first ask something that would be hard to say "no" to. You can work on upgrading later, once you've gotten them to take the first step beyond liking you to supporting you.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.