To the Point: Online Fundraising in Six Easy Steps
So, this is the year you get serious about online fundraising. Here is my six-point checklist for developing a kick-butt online fundraising program in 2010.
1. Build a list.
Before you can start to fundraise online, you have to have an audience to solicit. So get started right away building your list. Collect e-mail addresses at events; include a link to your e-newsletter in every print publication you send. Consider doing an e-mail append. In addition, set aside a budget for ongoing acquisition. Why? Because people change their e-mail addresses! According to the eNonprofit Benchmark Study (e-benchmarksstudy.com), you can expect approximately 20 percent of your e-mail addresses to go bad each year. To make up for this attrition, you need to engage in acquisition to continue to grow your list.
2. Create compelling content.
Now that you have a list of prospective donors, you have to give those donors a reason to give. This means creating content that showcases the work you do and illustrates how donors can make a difference. Don't assume that your work can stand on its own. You also have to tell your donors what's in it for them. In other words, how will they benefit from investing their precious time, talents and treasures in your organization? This is called "donor-centric" communication, and it's a shift for many nonprofits that are used to waxing on and on about how great they are.
Another best practice is to create an editorial calendar. Brainstorm key dates and times of the year when your cause is top-of-mind for donors. For example, if you work on childhood obesity, use "back to school" season as a time to talk about the challenges of this epidemic. A calendar helps you to stay disciplined and attuned to what is happening in the broader environment.