Practical Advice for Modern Fundraisers

THOUGHT·FUL

adjective\ˈtht-fəl\

: serious and quiet because you are thinking: done or made after careful thinking   : done or made after careful thinking: showing concern for the needs or : showing concern for the needs of feelings of other people

Multiple online donation pages are your friend - really!

Are you using multiple donor pages for online giving?  Well, you should. How else are you going to track where your gifts are coming from so that you know which of your online campaigns are working.  
Your online donation system needs to allow you to create multiple donation pages if it does not I would recommend finding one that does. Each donation page should have a unique name and URL. That way you can use different pages for different campaigns. For example, you might have three online campaigns: Internal E-blast, Acquisition E-blast, and Social Media i.e. Facebook, and Twitter.  
Internal E-blast- This is an e-blast that goes to your current donors. Ideally, this E-blast would mimic the style and words of your direct mail appeals. Now the rules are a bit different for how much text and graphics to use but the feel ought to be the same since this e-blast is typically, sent in conjunction with mailed pieces. 
Acquisition E-blast- This is an e-blast that is usually sent by a separate company.  These are very similar to direct mail acquisitions.  The email could mimic your base acquisition piece since you know it works. There are a number of companies that can assist you with this type of e-blast. I have found the cost moderately reasonable for the number of people that you can reach. 
Social Media - Each platform is a bit different, but the idea is the same that you should use a dedicated donation page. Let's look at Facebook. There are three places you should be using donor pages on Facebook. 
1.    You can create a “donate” or “learn more” tab for your main page.
2.    You can create a  series of post designed to ask people to support your charity or cause.
3.    Or you could purchase ads since you certainly want to see how well they are doing a separate donation page is a must. These ads should be timely and based on your very best post. Facebook Analytics can tell you which post got an above average number of likes or shares.  
Twitter-  On this platform, you have two places you can use donor pages.
1.    You should create a series of tweets that all use the same donation page URL.  A short video is ideal for this type of appeal. Also, don’t forget to be donor-centric even in 140 characters. 
2.    You can also purchase promoted tweets (or ads).  You will want to track which donations came from the ads. Again, I would recommend basing the paid tweets on your most retweeted or shared tweets.
Knowing which page your donations came from can help you focus your efforts. If you never get donations from Social Media, maybe you won't put as much effort into that particular avenue.  You will definitely, want to know which of your online donations came from your acquisition appeal and renewal appeal.  On the acquisition side, you will also want to know to which list/e-blast each donor is responding. All of this will help you figure out where to put your efforts and what your ROI is for each online/eblast appeal.
 
Please let me know how you use multiple donor pages.{jcomments on}

 

Can your organization use a Social Media Expert?  I mean really use.

 

So you plan on hiring a Social Media Specialist for your organization. Well, you have an important question to answer mainly do you have 40 hours of work for this person?

This new person will need to be someone dedicated to your organization who has the flexibility to get posts into your social media streams on a regular and systematic way. They also need to be able to respond when things happen. But, for most non-profits, the answer to is still no. So what might you combine with the positions social media task to create a full-time position?

Is there a person dedicated to keeping your website up-to-date? What do I mean by "up-to-date?" Well, as I am sure you know websites are never actually finished they require constant tweaking and new material. If you are not doing this, then you have a whole different problem, and we will cover that in an upcoming post.

The person in this position can write beyond 140 characters or the few paragraphs in a Facebook Page post. Also keep in mind that being able to curate material derived from other sources like your annual report or program materials can also be the basis of new material for the website. Then this person only needs the technical skill to add articles to the site - and the forethought to think about what to add or the guidance by you to know what to add.

Who knows they may even understand things like meta tags and keywords? Both of which are important if anyone is going to find your website. Understanding this functions opens what might be wholly new and important area of analytics. If you use the Google analysis products, it would be great to have a person dedicated to this work. If you have a Google Ad Words, Grant you know how much time is necessary to manage that asset. If you don’t have a Google Ad Words Grant then maybe this new person can help you get one.

Another distinct area is desktop publishing and graphic design. Would it be helpful to have an in-house design guru, probably? The very nature of creating engaging well-constructed post requires a good design sense and the technical skill to create images and videos. These same skills may well translate into the skills needed to create a newsletter or simple brochure.

And don't forget your social media campaign should be working hand in hand with your events and individual giving programs. Ads and promoted post are assets to the rest of your donor program.

So is there 40 hours of work for a Social Media/Webmaster/Marketing position at your organization. My instinct says yes. And though you might not be able to draw a solid line between the position and income I think you can certainly draw a dotted line.

What could be better than a thoughtful program of social media post, website updates, meaningful analytics and, possibly even design skills?

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