The Five Basic Steps to Acquiring Donors Online
If your organization hasn’t yet solved the tech puzzle, read technology writer and nonprofit Internet strategist Michael Stein’s excellent primer on choosing software at Idealware.org.
Drive prospective donors to your Web pages
After you’ve invested in the right software, you can begin the work of acquisition. Every nonprofit can graph a unique pie chart showing the various sources of donors acquired via the Internet — not to mention donors who contribute online but who were first acquired via offline channels such as events and direct mail. Here’s a rundown of the most common online sources and key tips to maximize them:
* Organic Web site traffic. Many people visit your Web site after Google searches, via links on third-party Web sites, or simply by typing in your Web address. To capture the most search visitors, search engine optimization is the best place to start. SEO involves tweaking your Web site and taking other steps to ensure that links to your site appear near the top of searches that relate to your mission so, for example, your food bank in Seattle appears near the top of the listings when someone types “food banks in Seattle” into a search engine. Hire a pro to help with SEO, and build it into your next site redesign.
* Tell-a-friend. This category includes those driven to one of your Web site pages by people they know who have just taken action with you online. The best strategy to recruit new supporters via tell-a-friend is to invite and empower action takers (or donors) to tell friends immediately after they take action (or donate). For example, when someone signs an online petition and clicks on the “Sign” button, land them on a thank-you page that also enables them to enter their friends’ e-mail addresses and invite their friends to sign it, too.
- Geoff Handy
- Michael Stein