Monday, May 5, 2008

Online...They've Got Mail: 10 marketing strategies

The current economic situation nationwide, combined with higher costs and tighter regulations relating to postal fundraising, will make online marketing even more important in upcoming years.

Vinay Bhagat, chief strategy officer for online fundraising firm Convio, maintains that nonprofits will need to invest in effective online marketing programs. He offers 10 best practices for getting started online:

  • Ensure your Web site makes the right first impression. Prospective donors are very likely to visit your site before making a gift in any channel.
  • Collect email addresses of current donors. Communicating online with donors enhances their value. Few organizations have emails for more than 30 percent of their active donors.
  • Optimize your Web site to convert visitors to email subscribers. Target a 3 percent conversion rate of unique visitors to new subscribers.
  • Make every communication count. Write emails with a constituent-centric point of view, and steer clear or sending non-compelling material.
  • Inspire. Provide value and be transparent to your donors about how funds are spent.
  • Ask for money, regularly. Include a soft ask in every communication.
  • Use multiple emails in a series to lift appeal response rates. Suppress those who respond to earlier appeals in the series.
  • Make fundraising appeals tangible and compelling. People are presented with lots of appeals and offers.
  • Empower volunteers. Raise money through online peer-to-peer fundraising software tools.
  • Encourage monthly giving. The lifetime value of monthly donors is much higher than single-gift donors.

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