Planning for Online Fundraising, Part 2
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 it's easy or that you don't need a strategy.
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.
Last week, in part 1 of this two-part series covering the session, we looked 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 a plan (to view part 1, click here).
Kenyon also touched on strategies nonprofits should consider when responding to a reduction in resources, as many organizations currently are. The five strategies are:
1. Plan and prioritize. Coordinate your communications and development activities to make the most of your message and its impact. Prioritize what is important and what can wait — and know what the trade-offs are.
2. Keep an eye on basics. Focus on improvements that are informed by metrics. What are your most popular Web site pages or stories? Use that data to make your Web site more robust. Keep experimentation to a minimum. Social media isn't going anywhere, and there are plenty of ways to test those waters without expending a lot of resources.
3. Get help with content. Spread out the work and get more people within your organization to contribute content. Stories are the best content. If there's an event coming up, find an interesting angle and cover it, or tap into a hot issue you see in the news that's germane to your mission. Kenyon suggests getting board members and volunteers to write a few paragraphs about why they're on the board and what they love about your organization. Be sure that as you broaden your sources of content, you're still conveying a consistent brand. Give volunteer writers and photographs some guidelines, training and deadlines.
4. Track data. Are you getting the most out of your database? Does your database support good business practices? What happens when a check comes in? Who has to touch it? How many times does it have to get entered? Are you sending thank-you messages in a timely manner? What is the process for sending them? Taking a good look at these business practices often can reveal significant inefficiencies, Kenyon said.
5. Stay knowledgeable. Don't neglect education. "Improve your skills and knowledge so that you are in control of your technology and not the other way around," Kenyon said.
Kenyon also offered an example of an online engagement plan. This plan can be downloaded, and a recording of the session accessed, here.