Online DRM Strategies
Unlike offline DRM, online donor cultivation doesn’t begin until donors opt in to receive communications from you. From that point forward, organizations should begin the process of fostering a two-way communication with constituents — meaning the collected set of people who donate, volunteer, serve on the board, or benefit from the services of your organization — and make efforts to understand how to get them involved, says Jeff Patrick, president of Common Knowledge, a Dallas-based consulting firm that provides services that help nonprofits use the Internet to fundraise, advocate, market and communicate to constituents.
Dialoguing with online constituents means generating ways that enable them to feel apart of the organization and its mission. The following three things are necessary components to any online communications to constituents:
- Inform. Education is a huge component to this strategy. Provide baseline information that helps constituents fundamentally understand what you do.
- Emotion. Getting constituents emotionally connected is important. Tapping into the intellect and emotions is a powerful part of getting people to care about your cause, Patrick says.
- Demonstrate success. Show that what you’re doing is working.
This last point, demonstrating success, is extremely important but something that Patrick says a lot of organizations don’t do. They’re good at informing and building an emotional link to constituents through the human element of the services they provide, but often they forget to go back to donors and report program outcomes.
“Close the loop and say, ‘Here’s what happened with our program’ or, ‘Here’s an update,’” he says. “The reason that this is important in terms of cultivation generally, but specifically for the online audience is they’re not here. They can’t see what’s happening, they can’t see behind the doors, they’re not necessarily at your event.”
Because of this geographic distribution of the online audience, it’s vitally important to demonstrate results to them. And it doesn’t always have to be good news. “It’s OK to sort of serve up what is not necessarily perfect news, but do it in a way that demonstrates that you’ve learned from it, and what you’re going to do to correct it,” Patrick adds.