What day is it? In the span of only a few weeks, I received four wall calendars, a personalized pocket planner, a checkbook-sized calendar and a wallet-sized booklet calendar. Not unusual at first glance. But that’s just the beginning! Two of the wall calendars also had back-end premium offers; the pocket planner came with a funky flat pen; and the checkbook-sized calendar came with lots of seriously glitzy stickers and other fun goodies.
The Humane Society Of The United States
Web 2.0 tools and social technologies — blogs, social networks, widgets, videosharing and photosharing sites — all are cost-effective ways to build participation, sharing and collaboration into the core of what organizations do. But they’re different than traditional nonprofit efforts online. They require organizations to go to areas that they can’t control, where potential supporters are gathered. And though they offer the ability for increased engagement, it doesn’t just happen on its own. Here’s a look at how a few nonprofits are using online social technologies in their outreach efforts.
This mailing from the Humane Society of the United States employs a unique freemium of a diary, but keeps it anything but secret. Written in maroon on the white 4.5-inch-by-8.5-inch outer is the teaser, “The enclosed FREE GIFT will help you throughout your day!” Inside the mailing — sent to HSUS members — is a 3.5-inch-by-7-inch reply device, a BRE, the 4-inch-by-6-inch four-color diary and a 7.25-inch-by-10.25-inch four-page letter. The paperback-weight cover of the diary has an adorable illustration of a puppy and kitten sleeping cheek to cheek. Inside are blank diary pages, as well as a mini-calendar and address-book pages. On the back
For years, Washington, D.C.-based The Humane Society of the United States ignored the Internet’s full potential to reach donors and supporters.
Here’s the situation we found ourselves in: HSUS’ Web site in April 2003 had been transferred to its third department in five years. While the site was graphically appealing and content rich, it ran on proprietary software developed by a company that no longer was in business.
In the formative years of online fundraising, nonprofit organizations assumed that if they built a Web site with bells and whistles, rich content and a device to accept donations, donors would come. But to the chagrin of many fundraising pros who defined effective online fundraising as the ability to take credit card transactions through a Web interface, donors came in fits and starts. Charities soon learned that they needed to be just as creative, diligent and engaging in their approach to the Internet as to any offline fundraising medium.