Tips for Creating an Online Strategy
An online strategy is a plan of action for using the Internet and other digital media to achieve a goal or set of goals. Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Web advertising and search engine optimization aren’t strategies but rather tactics that can be used to achieve an online strategy.
Rardin noted that the majority of online donations come to organizations through their Web sites. Therefore, he stressed, before organizations invest staff time or money into online marketing or outreach, they should ensure that their Web sites are able to capture new contacts and accept donations.
"You've got to have a Web site that's functional, that is really optimized so an individual can easily donate online, easily sign up to hear from you online," Rardin said, “because the whole point of all this other online outreach and promotion and connecting on Facebook and what not, the goal of all that is get people to come back to your Web site to do whatever it is you want them to do — whether it's take action, sign a petition or make a donation."
Define your online strategy with the following steps:
1. Define your goals.
A possible goal could be to get, say, 2 percent of funds from online sources by the end of next year. "That's a nice, concrete, very measurable goal," Rardin said. Other goals could be to raise awareness of the organization and an understanding of what it does, to drive traffic to a specific advocacy page, or list growth — all of which should be done in an effort to grow donations down the road.
2. Identify tactics.
Rardin suggested organizations invest in a branded donation page that is user friendly and doesn't treat donors like shopping carts. Key elements of a donation page are branding and customization; support for recurring and anonymous donations; automatic tax receipts; tell-a-friend and e-mail sign up; tributes and program designations; and thank-you gifts and premiums.