Many non-profit organizations work at a glacial pace due to the necessity of having the slightest action approved by layers of administration. But if you have the control over your group’s online fundraising, you should consider applying these top seven actions to boost your totals. Don’t write a memo and place these actions on a list that will be considered by the board six months from now, cut through the internal red tape and implement them today!
1. Overhaul your email – Find someone in your organization with limited computer skills such as a senior citizen intern or volunteer. Ask them to review your latest email and then summarize what it was all about. If you find that they are pointing out “charity jargon” that they did not understand; or if they were confused about the call to action; or if they had trouble even finding your Donate Now link; roll up your sleeves and start overhauling.
2. Cultivate your lapsed donors – In the current topsy-turvy economy there are endless reasons why previously reliable donors may no longer be contributing. Sending a cultivation email containing an appeal targeted to their previous behavior could help trigger a new gift. The targeting is the key factor here, as if they have historically supported child hunger issues in Africa, it is the diametrically wrong approach to send them an email alerting them to your local “art in the park” fundraising campaign.
3. Ask for a monthly donation – Transactional email is the best place to turn a one-time donation into ongoing support. When you are thanking your donor for the first received gift, a simple reminder that they can turn their support into a monthly donation with a single click can be an extremely successful strategy in converting them into regular givers.
4. Get over $100,000 per year in free AdWords – Google Grants currently has more than 6,000 non-profit organizations certified for participation in the program that provides a credit grant of up to $10,000 per month of AdWords placements. It takes several months to have your application approved, which is just one more reason why you should fill out the application immediately. It’s not every day that you can access over $100,000 per year in free online advertising just by submitting a form!
5. Develop your sound bite – You have an advocacy and activities mission statement and it’s likely a mini-tome that’s buried on your About Us website page, but you need a “sound bite” in your email newsletters that will allow even the most casual observer to determine at first glance what it is that you do and what it is that you want from them. Take everything that makes your organization different and more worthy of funding support than the others and condense it down to less than a dozen words. It’s more difficult than it seems, so start working on it now.
6. Streamline your signup – Your subscribers want to receive your newsletter, not apply for a mortgage. Keep your opt-in form mercifully short and sweet, or risk having your new constituents’ interest evaporate between fields asking them for their shoe size and favorite vegetable. At opt-in collect the absolute minimum of personal data to speed the joining process. Once you have them on your list, you can then encourage them to fill out surveys, polls and their personal profile on your Preference Center.
7. Set the price – A leading reason why some email fundraising appeals fail is because the reader is confused as to what is being asked of them. Setting a single “price for admission” or a very simple, basic set of options to giving allows the prospective donor to determine at a glance if giving to your cause is within their affordability range. Using the PBS Pledge Week model where various donation steps are offered, each accompanied by a specific “free gift” of proportional value to the amount given can pay considerable dividends… even if the free gift is just the knowledge that they’re doing that much more good.