Planning for Online Fundraising, Part 1
The Web offers ever-increasing ways for nonprofit organizations to educate, engage and raise funds from prospects and constituents. But just because it might seem easier to connect with people online than, say, via direct mail or the telephone, that doesn't mean that it's easy or that you can approach it haphazardly.
A Network for Good audio session on Feb. 3 titled "More Than a Donate Button: Composing Your Online Fundraising Plan in '09," presented by nonprofit technology strategist John Kenyon, showed the step-by-step process for developing an online fundraising plan.
This week, in part 1 of a two-part series covering the session, we'll look at Kenyon's analysis of the elements that should be included in your online fundraising plan, with a detailed look at his recommendations for online projects that should be a part of the plan. Next week, we'll wrap up our coverage with a shorter piece on strategies Kenyon recommended nonprofits consider when responding to a reduction in resources.
According to Kenyon, to be successful with online engagement and fundraising, an organization must have a thoughtful plan and clear goals. Before creating the plan, identify the project members who will be a part of the plan and the activities that will be included in it.
Once you've done that, you're ready to get started on building the plan. The six elements that you should include are:
1. Organizational profile and current direction.
2. Offline and online communication vision and goals. Kenyon suggested getting the answers to three questions:
- Who are your three primary audiences?
- What are the three things that you want those audiences to know?
- What are the three things they can do to support your work?
"It's great to give them good information," he said, "but you also want to give them something that they can actually do, whether it be volunteer or donate or contribute in other, non-financial ways."
3. Strategic and operational online engagement goals. Include benchmarks based on data collected about your e-mail and Web site activities.
4. Descriptions of each project, including the benefits, tasks and costs associated with it. Speak to the ways each project will help you engage more audiences, get more people signed up for your e-mail or get more people donating online.
5. Budget. Be sure to include not only hard costs like purchasing software or tools, but also the cost of time. Kenyon noted the 30/70 rule, which says that 30 percent of the cost of technology is the initial purchase, and 70 percent of that cost is the maintenance of the technology. And allocate money when budgeting for a new or existing tool, training, desired system improvements, staffing, consultation and educational opportunities.