Editor’s Note: Perhaps the best way for nonprofit organizations to learn how to effectively increase their online presence through innovative multichannel programs is to look to their peers that already are utilizing Web 2.0 channels for advocacy, friendraising and fundraising. We asked Katrin Verclas, executive director of NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network, to talk about some of the organizations that she sees as leading the way. Here … her responses:
Amnesty ran an edgy campaign last year — the Air Torture project — aimed to raise awareness about the use of “extraordinary renditions” in a “not your usual policy work,” attention-getting way. Consultant Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies wanted to grow Amnesty’s list, raise money for its work to stop torture and cultivate its uber-activists in an exciting new way. Amnesty created an advocacy landing page — www.airtorture.com — that mirrored an actual airline booking page. From that page, people were encouraged to download a boarding pass with information that could be printed and sent to that person’s congressional representative, tell friends about the campaign, download blog badges to post on a personal blog, and, of course, make a gift.
The campaign added 17,000 new names to the file without any paid marketing; raised $34,000 directly attributed to e-mail, with $108,000 total online giving in June and significant spikes on days when Air Torture appeals were sent; and generated five top blog mentions and some 30 personal blog posts. According to McKee, the list growth from this campaign was astonishing, especially without any marketing.
CARE very effectively has used the Web for a set of beautiful, multichannel campaigns. The organization spent some money and created video, flash animation and some wonderful stills. The “I am Powerful” campaign — and the Care Power Circle — have been particularly effective, exceeding donation projections significantly. The “I am Powerful” video was one of the most forwarded pieces of its site; it’s very effective, providing an emotional appeal and targeting women in a compelling way — and women constitute a core (and increasingly affluent) slice of the online-giving space. The visuals are beautifully rendered, and all online materials — video, virtual field trips, photo galleries and e-cards — are designed with print media in mind as well, making for a consistent look and feel.
The innovative nonprofit known as “the eBay of Philanthropy” wanted to launch a national online marketing campaign around back-to-school fundraising. It devised a model of 10 individual campaigns with customized messaging streams in the 10 states and cities where DonorsChoose has active programs. With its consulting firm, M&R Strategies, DonorsChoose developed a coordinated messaging stream and outreach materials, including pages of downloadable banners and icons, and reached out to hundreds of Web sites. Banners were posted widely, from local civic sites, “mommy blogs” and news stations, to national online advertising networks and media sites such as The Atlantic Monthly and National Geographic.