“I’m amazed at the number of e-mail newsletters that still are crammed with images at the top, including headers … and other unnecessary stuff that distracts the reader. Like anything else, e-newsletters are read because of good content, not because a publisher gets an artist to create a cool logo or header that takes over a large portion of the valuable ‘above-the-fold’ real estate.” — Sept. 14, “Are You Getting the Most from Your E-Newsletters?,” posted by Rob Yoegel on Publishing Executive’s Pub Talk blog. www.pubexec.com/pubtalk
At one time, having a static Web site was all a nonprofit organization needed to communicate with its supporters and the public. Times have changed. Sure, there are still plenty of static Web sites out there, but we’re also seeing more nonprofits with dynamic, interactive sites with plenty of compelling content. In fact, organizations are generating an increasing volume of electronic content — information pertinent to donors, advocates, program recipients, volunteers, staff and other constituents. So how are these organizations managing and updating these content-rich Web sites, usually on a daily basis? If you answered, “By keeping our webmaster busy 24-7,” think
The “Donate” button, for all too many organizations, is the Alpha and Omega — the beginning and end — of their online fundraising efforts. But such an unimaginative view leaves thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of dollars worth of potential donations lying on the table. Since online fundraising became an option, nonprofits have raised hundreds of millions of dollars through new media tools and technologies. And research constantly suggests that online donations and donors are increasing by the month. Median dollars raised online grew 27 percent between 2005 and 2006. The average amount raised jumped 40 percent from 2003 to 2005, with the
Dick McPherson’s new book, “Digital Giving: How Technology is Changing Charity,” is a comprehensive yet highly digestible volume that marries McPherson’s sage insights with real-life case studies, tips and observations from myriad nonprofit fundraisers and consultants. In it, McPherson, president and creative director of Malvern, Pa.-based McPherson Associates, breaks down e-philanthropy to its essential elements and details how those elements need to be addressed by nonprofits hoping to raise money and awareness online and through other new technologies. Here, an excerpt that outlines tips for success from Katherine Miller, director of communications for the United Nations Foundation, which recently partnered with Sports Illustrated and the
Editor’s Note: Perhaps the best way for nonprofit organizations to learn how to effectively increase their online presence through innovative multichannel programs is to look to their peers that already are utilizing Web 2.0 channels for advocacy, friendraising and fundraising. We asked Katrin Verclas, executive director of NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network, to talk about some of the organizations that she sees as leading the way.
Yesterday I opened a fat envelope from Donors Choose, an innovative, education-funding nonprofit I’d given to earlier this year. The contents -- a dozen photos of giddy fourth-graders painting on canvases I’d paid for and delightful, hand-scrawled “thank you” notes from the class. That’s Ms. Bolling’s class. When developing a plan to raise money online, you’re not likely to find a better lesson plan than this offline example, courtesy of Ms. Bolling and Donors Choose. They nailed it. Nothing has changed No doubt the Web is a powerful tool for raising money. That’s why I’m an Internet strategist and not, say, a telephone strategist.
Spam filters are a definite improvement in the world of cyber communications. But, face it, it’s annoying and potentially costly to have legitimate e-communications trapped in overzealous filters.
There’s a solution: RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. And, yes, it really is simple. Nonetheless, while some nonprofit organizations have been using RSS as an alternative to e-mail for some time now, others have hung back, unconvinced that a significant percentage of Web users actually are using RSS readers.
“Not a known member.” “Undeliverable.” “Deleted.”
These e-alternatives to the old postal pain-in-the-neck message “Return to Sender” can be annoying at best. At worst, they can signal a sad state of affairs in your e-mail files that can waste your organization’s precious time and money — not to mention eroding delicate donor relationships because your advocacy, fundraising, educational and thank-you messages, etc., simply aren’t getting through.
The wonders of online marketing give nonprofits the ability to reach out to millions of potential donors. But organizations seeking major and planned gifts often struggle with prioritizing the large amounts of data that result. It’s no great surprise that, after a while, all that data starts to run together and all those donors start to look alike.
The growth in recent years of online contributions to disaster-relief organizations clearly illustrates that Web fundraising has come of age. Consider the online giving that the American Red Cross has generated following major disasters: $64 million related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (2001); $140 million in the wake of the Southeast Asia tsunami (2004); and $479 million after Hurricane Katrina (2005). Also telling is that the percentage of individual donor funds raised online (excluding corporate contributions) grew from 29 percent for Sept. 11 to 55 percent for the tsunami, illustrating that donors have become increasingly comfortable giving over the Internet.