How to Get More Donors, More Messages and More Success
Held in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, the 2008 Kintera User Conference provided organizations with a plethora of useful information, including a formula for effective grassroots engagement.
In the session “Grassroots Engagement: More Donors, More Messages, More Success,” attendees were given this formula to help create high impact campaigns: Engagement = (microtargeting + mobilization) x viral.
High-impact campaigns require compelling content that targets and mobilizes new and existing constituents, and gives them the means to increase the reach and depth of the campaign. Providing viral-marketing tools for the audience will increase overall engagement metrics.
Successful and ongoing engagement requires pushing into the supporter’s “Priority Attention” area. The average person today is monitoring or engaging with a variety of media forms on a regular basis. It is routine for many to check their cell phones, e-mail and social networks, or do a Google search every day. These tools are a part of Priority Attention, and nonprofits should work to get their message integrated into this area.
Unfortunately, most nonprofits must focus their main Web site on attracting as large an audience as possible: satisfying all, but targeting none. Microtargeting allows for a shift in mind-set. It frees the organizations to target narrowly and establish mini campaigns specific to each audience. Microtargeting can be done on specific issues, specific events or around a general cause associated with the organization. New messaging or campaign strategies can be tried without risking alienating core supporters.
All take-action links should drive supporters back to the organization’s site to take simple actions — sign up, learn more, add your voice, volunteer, spread the word and give. To further engage, the immediate impact of any action a user takes in support of the organization or cause should immediately be shown along with ways to spread the word to others to take similar actions. Showing the large impact of the smallest action can have a profound effect on the success of advocacy campaigns.
When starting a microtargeting campaign, organizations first look to their own core supporters to get the word out and start the groundswell of action. Most microtargeting failures occur because organizations do not start with the family first before going to the friends.
Making the campaign viral is critical and requires the right kind of message, outreach vehicles (e-mail, flash widgets, YouTube and so forth), and audience demographics. Viral vehicles must be tied to the microsite to further drive traffic and interest to take action. Mobilization efforts should use segmentation to focus on high-impact supporters, and the viral tool must be something that can be shared with others easily.
By empowering highly active supporters to spread the message and encourage simple but impactful action among their social groups, organizations will find that their advocacy, fundraising or educational programs will be exponentially more successful.
Bob Ellsworth is managing partner for ChariTech, an e-philanthropy strategy company that helps nonprofits implement their technology vision.