Digital

Thank you: Say it often, say it right

Next to your fundraising appeal, your thank-you letter is the most important piece of communication that your donor receives.

Great thank you letters are the hallmark of great fundraising programs. They make a donor feel appreciated and important … that their gift will make a true difference.

When donors are thanked properly for their gift, they are far more likely to give again.

So how do you write a great thank you letter?

  • Thank you letters should be written as part of your fundraising appeal. They are not an afterthought but are a significant, integral component.
  • They should be as beautifully crafted and well thought out as your appeal letter.
  • They should be personal – a real letter that speaks directly to the donor.
  • Your letter should tell a story; ideally, a story in which the donor is the hero (because of their gift.)
  • It should reinforce just how the donor’s gift will be used – and the difference it will make.
  • If you don’t have any immediate results that you can send back in response to a donor’s gift, let your donor know when they will next receive an update on the program being funded. And follow through!
  • There should be no grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Most importantly, the letter should be sent out quickly.

Thanking matters! If you aren’t spending as much thought and energy on thanking donors as you do asking them, you aren’t doing your job.

Need some help? There are some great resources out there to help you get started.

Visit Lisa Sargeant’s ‘Thank you Letter Clinic’ on SOFII.  There are eight examples of thank you letters to help inspire you to write your next one.

There are five thank you letters donors will love at ‘the balance’

 

 

 

New Australian Donor Numbers Fall for First Time in Two Decades

The latest Pareto Benchmarking figures show that the number of new donors acquired by the 82 participating charities in 2016, was less than in 2015.

These charities include a majority of charities raising over $20m in 2016, and a good selection of medium sized fundraising organisations as well.

 

With more than 65% of all regular givers and appeal donors acquired by face to face or direct mail, whatever happens to these two channels influences the big picture more than anything else.

 

 

Direct mail grew solidly until last year despite postage costs increasing dramatically, the Australian dollar falling from 1:1 to 1:0.75 and Australians falling from being ‘the wealthiest people in the world’ to just pretty rich (on average!)

By the end of 2015, intense acquisition strategies from many charities, large budgets and our small population of people aged over 65 (the average age of a direct mail donor is around 73) led to many charities simply running out of new people to ask.

Unless charities have great mid, major and bequest donor strategies in place, direct mail has slipped from being a great acquisition tool to just an OK one.  Annoyingly we haven’t a ‘replacement’ channel working at scale to bring in the older demographic.

 

However, direct mail can’t be looked at on its own as its about the donors not the channel in isolation. The long term benefit is really in bequests.  Despite taking many years, the potential of direct mail with a good bequest program in place is extraordinary.

Just 5,000 new direct mail donors could be worth $5m with a good legacy marketing program.*

Unless you are an animal charity or responding to intense media covered disasters, my advice is to only invest in direct mail acquisition if you have plans in place for donor retention, upgrade (of mid value donors) and especially that bequest fundraising plan.

The other dominant channel is face to face, I have been predicting a peak in face to face volumes for about three years. I guess if you predict your football team will win every year, people forget all but the year you got it right!

Unfortunately I hung in there, and this time I was right. Fewer new monthly givers signed up through face to face in 2016 than 2015.

Despite all this, face to face is still miles ahead of any other channel for acquiring large volumes of monthly givers, and beats direct mail without bequest follow up on five year return on investment.

 

 

We have had good growth in online lead generation and phone calls, but the volumes are still comparatively small.  TV, radio, press ads and other channels are just a blip on total volumes, but very important to the few charities getting it right.

New monthly givers signed up by non face to face channels usually have better retention, but there simply aren’t that many of them.

 

So what does this mean for Australian charities?

We have a small population, our costs are higher than most other markets and our average donations much higher.

We have to really look after the donors we get.  I have mentioned mid value, major donors and bequests already – and they are key – but critically we need to increase our focus on donor love (donor care, supporter service, whatever you call it in your organization).

Here are my tips for all charities fundraising through individual gifts:

  • Be on top of your data.  Measuring campaigns is fine but you really need to be on top of tracking key indicator numbers, key performance indicators and running ongoing analysis to identify trends. And this is for your whole program, individual programs, donor segments and even some individual donors. Produce monthly reports, or even better dashboards, and make sure they are understood and the information is acted upon. It is important to make sure the quality of your data is managed effectively. It’s all well and good to make ‘fixes’ with an agency or mailhouse, but make sure you apply any fixes in your systems too, otherwise it may not be ‘fixed’ for the donors next interaction.
  • Acquire more donors.  If you are acquiring donors and modeling a break even within two years – don’t stop! In fact, if there is any more capacity you can use (e.g. lists or face to face go for it. Just make sure you check the compliance credentials of any suppliers).
  • Know your donor.  A true donor communication survey is key for donor care, major donor work, bequests and more.  It can even help with future direct campaign results!  Key to good donor care is to understand your donor and use a survey year after year.
  • Thank properly.  This doesn’t mean just send a receipt with a short thank you letter.  Every time we conduct mystery shopping, charities come up badly.  Donors deserve a beautiful thank you letter, telling them how their gift will help.  Then they should get a follow up telling how it DID help.  Hardly anyone does this, so, it is easy for your charity to have the best donor care around.
  • Ask properly.  Personalise copy.  Not just name and address, but donation amount, reflect their support, personalise paragraphs depending on their survey responses and previous donations. It is important any personalisation included relates to the donor, and isn’t just changing an adjective in the copy depending on their giving level. Take time to think about where the donor is in their giving journey, what they’ve told you and ensure your copy reflects this well.
  • Use the Pareto Principle. Donors who give larger than average gifts will likely give you more larger gifts.  You don’t have resources to spread equally, so prioritise those with the best potential to give more.  About half your donations will come from just five per cent of your donors.  Use the survey and look at previous giving to work out who they are.
  • Meet donors. The best fundraising happens face to face, but any full time major donor fundraiser who spends more time NOT meeting donors is either under supported or in the wrong job.  There are usually around 220 working days for a full time person.  A full time bequest or major donor fundraiser should be spending 180-200 of those visiting donors.  ALL fundraisers would be speaking to donors. Making thank you calls, checking in on how the fundraising you do feels for your donors. Aiming to understand more and more about your donors. If you have not spoken to a single donor in the last month, pick up the phone now
  • Hold staff and suppliers accountable.  Make sure they know what is expected and make sure good KPIs are in place and understood. Ensure suppliers are compliant with regulations.
  • Try some new stuff. Finally, and only if you have made sure you are doing all the above!  Budget for R&D with no income expected. And please – on behalf of the whole sector – let us know how you get on!

If you want to be part of Pareto Benchmarking next year please email Jesse Zarb.

* 5,000 direct mail donors, average age 73, average bequest in Australia $59,273.  Benchmarking shows 0.4% of all such donors have become bequestors, with more advanced bequest programs achieving 2%. $1.2m-$5.9m.

Can you name this critter?

The Bush Heritage two-step Australian wildlife campaign has garnered great results – both in terms of lead acquisition and donor conversion. James Herlihy explains how it was achieved.

Before Al Gore even invented the internet (he didn’t really, it’s just a meme), fundraisers knew that, if done well, meaningful non-financial engagement can lead to richer supporter relationships and greater response. But translating that principle into new digital media – and ensuring the viability of this digital activity as an acquisition channel – is where fresh fundraising ground is being broken in 2016.

Bush Heritage’s wildlife survey campaign, which was produced with Pareto Fundraising, is one example of that ground being broken successfully – and I would like to share some key results and findings with you.

The centrepiece: a wildlife survey microsite

The survey microsite is the centrepiece of a two-step campaign involving primarily Facebook content (still the best digital acquisition channel for return on investment and volume) driving prospects to an enticing survey landing page featuring the little critter featured here (take the survey at bit.ly/ wildlife-survey to see if you can name it!).

Once a participant completes the survey, they are entered into a phone conversion program, while also being fed into an email journey aiming to promote social sharing and deepen supporter engagement before being served financial asks.

The results for the three-month trial early in 2016 were easily convincing enough to roll out for a further five months, as Audrey Hii, Direct Marketing Team Leader at Bush Heritage, explains: “The wildlife survey is very engaging and therefore delivers highly qualified leads. We understand from our phone agency that the phone fundraisers enjoy calling survey participants as the conversations are really positive – evidenced by a strong contact rate of close to 50% with a healthy conversion rate of 8% and average gift of $23.

“The cost per acquisition is the lowest across all of our regular giving acquisition campaigns and the projected 12-month return on investment looks to be on par with the best performing campaigns within our face-to-face program.”

The keys to success

What makes this campaign successful? Based on this and other two-step campaigns we’ve run, the top three elements are: A topic of relevance and interest to wellaligned donor audiences Unique Australian wildlife is interesting, especially to thoughtful middle-agers to retirees (who benchmarking tells us are our most reliable donors).

Self-interest factors We hit this attribute on a couple of counts. First is the personal challenge implicit in the campaign’s ‘What do you know?’ proposition. We all love finding out more about ourselves, and the fact that the survey scores you and responds interactively to your answers creates a nice instant feedback loop – and makes it more of a conversation than a one-way response process. The other self-interest factor is, of course, the incentivisation in the form of a low value, high street shopping voucher.

Compelling execution With Bush Heritage’s brilliant photos and the weird and wonderful world of Australian wildlife, our creatives had some fun with this one. The tone of the exercise hit just the right balance of fun and intrigue, while positioning Bush Heritage’s conservation programs in the mind of the participant and starting to build supporter interest. The tone of the quiz also makes it amenable to social sharing and competition – and no-one minds getting a few more supporter leads for free!

Campaign challenges

Six months into any digital campaign, the limited size of the Australian population (which breaks down to far smaller qualified target audiences) makes itself felt. We have to constantly optimise both audiences and creative, trialling and incorporating fresh ideas to keep lead cost per acquisition from rising and maintain volumes through to the phone room.

Happily, the campaign is still delivering strongly, which means more supporters helping Bush Heritage keep its awesome conservation work running. And if we reach that point where audiences need a rest from this survey, we’re a step ahead with plans to refresh this activity – and ensure online engagement remains a strong ongoing acquisition stream for Bush Heritage into the future.

 

James Herlihy is the Digital Strategist at Pareto Fundraising. He has spent more than a decade campaigning with nonprofits and is the brains behind groundbreaking digital campaigns for dogs, dolphins, humans, rights, reefs and more.

This article was first published in Fundraising and Philanthropy Magazine 2017

Some quick tips on fundraising landing pages

There are lots of good tips on landing pages when you search the web but it seems not enough. Lots of people are wanting specific tips on fundraising landing pages.

So here is a six minute short video for you…

The landing page is not the end of the journey for a potential supporter, it is part of the journey.  And it needs to work really hard to ‘close the deal’.

In the end, the most important thing is the brilliant proposition or offer.

After that, you can improve conversion rates with some simple techniques featured in the video.

If you want to know more, and are based in Europe, Africa, the Americas or New Zealand I hope you are coming to one of the webinars below.

People in Australia and Asia are welcome, but it is an early morning or late night for you!

 

Upcoming Webinars: 

I will be presenting a webinar (actually three, for different timezones) in early September about how to acquire donors on Facebook.  I hope you can come! 

These ones are aimed at people in Europe and Americas (don’t worry, people in Asian, Australia, I’ll repeat the webinar later – though nighthawks are welcome!). You can register here by clicking on the date that suits you: 7th Sept –  6am Sydney, 4pm New York, 9pm London. 10th Sept – 9am New York, 2pm London, 11pm Sydney. 17th Sept – 7am Sydney, 9am Auckland, 2pm LA, 6pm Rio, 5pm New York, 10pm London.

 

Four tips for acquiring supporters online

James Herlihy breaks down the top insights he gained from helping enlist 1,500 new cash donors for Australia for Dolphins in its ‘Action for Angel’ campaign.

In May, the advocacy-based non-government organisation Australia for Dolphins (AFD) developed and launched a digital campaign around the captive albino dolphin calf, Angel, with help from Pareto Fundraising. The ultimate aims: to help save dolphins in Taiji , and to convert petition signers  to regular giving.

Activities for regular giving conversion have not yet begun, but already the ‘Action for Angel’ campaign has multiplied AFD’s capacity for future effective action by boosting its donor base and active, engaged online community. So far, the campaign has:

  • Enlisted over 1,500 new cash donors
  • Grown the e-mail list from 1,700 to 40,000
  • Expanded an engaged Facebook fanbase from 4,000 to over 10,000
  • Achieved a project return on investment (ROI) of 1:2

Here are my four top insights from the Action for Angel campaign.

1.       Non-financial engagement can bring rewards… if the proposition is right

The Action for Angel campaign sprang out of discussions with AFD’s chief executive officer Sarah Lucas in April. She revealed that the organisation was planning fundraising to pay for an upcoming legal appeal against the Taiji Whale Museum. The museum was keeping an albino dolphin calf named ‘Angel’ in a tiny aquarium tank, after dolphin numbers slaughtered her mother and pod. Global outrage about the hunts created an opportunity for non-financial mobilisation that could deliver far more than a straight-out fundraising appeal – both in terms of impact and financially.

Not every organisation has a story with such mass appeal. But online action can be inspired by many less controversial causes – even those not usually involved in campaigning. Whether it’s a petition, a pledge, a quirky poll, message of solidarity, a simple ‘share’ or backend premium, think of what interaction might help you grow an engage your online base.

As with all supporter engagement, the proposition is key. Is there something that’s really of interest to your audience? Is it emotionally engaging, shocking, beautiful, awe-inspiring, hilarious or personally beneficial? There are lots of possibilities, if you are realistic about what’s going to stick.

2.       Properly map out the donor journey

You never want to get the stage of asking yourself, “Okay, we’ve engaged tens of thousands of people, now what?” No organisation should invest time and money in acquiring new supporters without having a clear path for them – ideally one that fulfils their strong fundraising potential.

With the Action for Angel campaign, we mapped out the full journey of communications. Cold audiences were driven to a petition from acquisition channels – targeted Facebook ads and promoted posts, Google display ads, etc. There was a strong share strategy. Petition signers were then funnelled through an automated e-mail journey after signature – with e-mails building the relationship with AFD – before they were solicited through a fundraising campaign for AFD’s legal appeal.

Signers who didn’t donate after one ask received a chaser email, and the fundraising campaign was also strongly promoted through acquisition channels – including Google display, Facebook and AdRoll retargeting.

3.       Spend time on audience research and targeting – the online way

The digital landscape provides unique, powerful tools for reaching audiences. Facebook alone has an unprecedentedly rich bank of data on the interests (psychographics) and demographics of a huge segment of Australians. It lets nonprofits target people with very specific interests – in AFD’s case, it was people interested in marine wildlife and advocacy – as well as the fanbases of other aligned organisations.

‘Custom audiences’ can be created matching your organisational e-mail list, plus further ‘lookalike’ audiences with a similar profile to that donor custom audience. Facebook also enables ‘retargeting’ of people who visit your website, and includes a powerful social dimension to promoted posts and advertising that other advertising channels lack.

With almost 60,000 petition signatures and 100,000 site visits in the first two weeks of the Action for Angel campaign, some great audience ‘capital’ was built that could be retargeted with the fundraising appeal when that launched. This couldn’t have happened without setting up the requirements at an early stage.

4.       Optimise your marketing tactics regularly and be flexible

When your digital campaign launches, you can’t sit around waiting for the results to come in. You have to work every day to optimise and make the campaign go further, take advantage of external events and respond to the community.

After launching the Angel petition, daily we scrutinised all responses to optimise the campaign and get the best results.

What next?

Hopefully these insights will help in your efforts to build an engaged online community and donor base. But  Of course, acquiring a regular or first cash donor online isn’t the end-game. It’s the start of a retention journey that should continually strengthen the donor’s relationship and commitment. But that’s a topic for another day!

AFD 1

Caption: The Action for Angel campaign petition achieved almost 60,000 signatures and 100,000 website visits in its first two weeks.

Planning is a key to success

So you’ve written your e-mails, you’ve got punchy copy and a great design for your landing pages. You’re ready to go, right? Wrong. Lots of extras are involved in a digital campaign. Don’t underestimate how much time these details take. Plan them in – realistically – from the start or you won’t hit that launch deadline.:

  • Generate code snippets for Google Analytics and Google, Facebook and AdRoll retargeting early and deploy them in the right places across web pages.
  • Update your privacy policy to include reference to cookies and retargeting – Google and AdRoll will block your campaigns otherwise.
  • Under the Australian Privacy Amendment Act 2012 (in effect from March 2014), all Australian donate forms now need a consent statement linking to a privacy policy and notification statement online. Got those?
  • If you want to accurately measure ROI for different channels, you must configure Google Analytics Ecommerce and embed your Facebook conversion pixel in web pages.
  • Cover share copy and image elements early. A Facebook share alone has five important properties with specific requirements. You need to get them right!
  • Plan for testing and bug fixing. Estimate how long this will take. Then double it.

 

AFD2

Caption: So engaged were AFD supporters that they sent in artworks, like this drawing by Caroline Proctor which was posted on Facebook to further build the online community.

 

James Herlihy

James Herlihy is a digital strategist at Pareto Fundraising. He has a decade of experience at Australian government departments and nonprofits including Amnesty International Australia, where he led production of record-breaking online fundraising campaigns.

This article was first published in the December 2014/January 2015 edition of Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine www.fpmagazine.com.au

 

Four Tips For Acquiring Supporters Online

James Herlihy breaks down the top insights he gained from helping enlist 1,500 new cash donors for Australia for Dolphins in its ‘Action for Angel’ campaign.

In May, the advocacy-based non-government organisation Australia for Dolphins (AFD) developed and launched a digital campaign around the captive albino dolphin calf, Angel, with help from Pareto Fundraising. The ultimate aims: to help save dolphins in Taiji , and to convert petition signers  to regular giving.

Activities for regular giving conversion have not yet begun, but already the ‘Action for Angel’ campaign has multiplied AFD’s capacity for future effective action by boosting its donor base and active, engaged online community. So far, the campaign has:

  • Enlisted over 1,500 new cash donors
  • Grown the e-mail list from 1,700 to 40,000
  • Expanded an engaged Facebook fanbase from 4,000 to over 10,000
  • Achieved a project return on investment (ROI) of 1:2

 

Here are my four top insights from the Action for Angel campaign.

1.       Non-financial engagement can bring rewards… if the proposition is right

The Action for Angel campaign sprang out of discussions with AFD’s chief executive officer Sarah Lucas in April. She revealed that the organisation was planning fundraising to pay for an upcoming legal appeal against the Taiji Whale Museum. The museum was keeping an albino dolphin calf named ‘Angel’ in a tiny aquarium tank, after dolphin numbers slaughtered her mother and pod. Global outrage about the hunts created an opportunity for non-financial mobilisation that could deliver far more than a straight-out fundraising appeal – both in terms of impact and financially.

Not every organisation has a story with such mass appeal. But online action can be inspired by many less controversial causes – even those not usually involved in campaigning. Whether it’s a petition, a pledge, a quirky poll, message of solidarity, a simple ‘share’ or backend premium, think of what interaction might help you grow an engage your online base.

As with all supporter engagement, the proposition is key. Is there something that’s really of interest to your audience? Is it emotionally engaging, shocking, beautiful, awe-inspiring, hilarious or personally beneficial? There are lots of possibilities, if you are realistic about what’s going to stick.

2.       Properly map out the donor journey

You never want to get the stage of asking yourself, “Okay, we’ve engaged tens of thousands of people, now what?” No organisation should invest time and money in acquiring new supporters without having a clear path for them – ideally one that fulfils their strong fundraising potential.

With the Action for Angel campaign, we mapped out the full journey of communications. Cold audiences were driven to a petition from acquisition channels – targeted Facebook ads and promoted posts, Google display ads, etc. There was a strong share strategy. Petition signers were then funnelled through an automated e-mail journey after signature – with e-mails building the relationship with AFD – before they were solicited through a fundraising campaign for AFD’s legal appeal.

Signers who didn’t donate after one ask received a chaser email, and the fundraising campaign was also strongly promoted through acquisition channels – including Google display, Facebook and AdRoll retargeting.

3.       Spend time on audience research and targeting – the online way

The digital landscape provides unique, powerful tools for reaching audiences. Facebook alone has an unprecedentedly rich bank of data on the interests (psychographics) and demographics of a huge segment of Australians. It lets nonprofits target people with very specific interests – in AFD’s case, it was people interested in marine wildlife and advocacy – as well as the fanbases of other aligned organisations.

‘Custom audiences’ can be created matching your organisational e-mail list, plus further ‘lookalike’ audiences with a similar profile to that donor custom audience. Facebook also enables ‘retargeting’ of people who visit your website, and includes a powerful social dimension to promoted posts and advertising that other advertising channels lack.

With almost 60,000 petition signatures and 100,000 site visits in the first two weeks of the Action for Angel campaign, some great audience ‘capital’ was built that could be retargeted with the fundraising appeal when that launched. This couldn’t have happened without setting up the requirements at an early stage.

4.       Optimise your marketing tactics regularly and be flexible

When your digital campaign launches, you can’t sit around waiting for the results to come in. You have to work every day to optimise and make the campaign go further, take advantage of external events and respond to the community.

After launching the Angel petition, daily we scrutinised all responses to optimise the campaign and get the best results.

What next?

Hopefully these insights will help in your efforts to build an engaged online community and donor base. But  Of course, acquiring a regular or first cash donor online isn’t the end-game. It’s the start of a retention journey that should continually strengthen the donor’s relationship and commitment. But that’s a topic for another day!

AFD 1

Caption: The Action for Angel campaign petition achieved almost 60,000 signatures and 100,000 website visits in its first two weeks.

 

 

 

AFD2

Caption: So engaged were AFD supporters that they sent in artworks, like this drawing by Caroline Proctor which was posted on Facebook to further build the online community.

 

Planning is a key to success

So you’ve written your e-mails, you’ve got punchy copy and a great design for your landing pages. You’re ready to go, right? Wrong. Lots of extras are involved in a digital campaign. Don’t underestimate how much time these details take. Plan them in – realistically – from the start or you won’t hit that launch deadline. Here are some important steps to plan in early :

  • Generate code snippets for Google Analytics and Google, Facebook and AdRoll retargeting early and deploy them in the right places across web pages.
  • Update your privacy policy to include reference to cookies and retargeting – Google and AdRoll will block your campaigns otherwise.
  • Under the Australian Privacy Amendment Act 2012 (in effect from March 2014), all Australian donate forms now need a consent statement linking to a privacy policy and notification statement online. Got those?
  • If you want to accurately measure ROI for different channels, you must configure Google Analytics Ecommerce and embed your Facebook conversion pixel in web pages.
  • Cover share copy and image elements early. A Facebook share alone has five important properties with specific requirements. You need to get them right!
  • Plan for testing and bug fixing. Estimate how long this will take. Then double it.

 

James Herlihy

James Herlihy is a digital strategist at Pareto Fundraising. He has a decade of experience at Australian government departments and nonprofits including Amnesty International Australia, where he led production of record-breaking online fundraising campaigns.

 

This article was first published in the December 2014/January 2015 edition of Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine www.fpmagazine.com.au

Social media and fundraising; learnings from corporate world

By Sean Triner

The final session of day one at the WA state conference was with a young entrepreneur award winner, Tenille Bentley. A very interesting session, beginning (like all social media sessions) with all the huge numbers but refreshingly localized for Australian market. Mind blowing numbers; I loved one analogy – as Australians continue to give up cigarettes they become addicted to Facebook. The infamous unfair break, the smoko, is replaced by the facebooko (or face-o).

Some good tips:

  • Only worry about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn
  • 80% of your social media communications should be about your topic, indirectly about you – only 20% about your products (something I call ‘Fluff and Bite’)
  • Don’t think of social media with a ‘what is the ROI’ approach. That is like asking ‘what is the ROI on my mobile phone’. It is about relationships
  • Gave example of peril of ignoring social media; someone working at Dominos spits in a Dominos Pizza, video goes viral, Dominos no idea why or what to do about it. Eventually they counter on YouTube and begin to recover sales
  • Always have policies that people agree to to allow you to remove inappropriate comments. But be aware they will just post them elsewhere
  • All charities should have a Business Facebook page. Allows for analysis
  • Great use of you tube, blender manufacturer blends things like iPads
  • Biggest growth on Facebook is 55-65 year old women
  • How often should you update?
    • Facebook 2 x a day on business page plus 5+ conversations on others walls
    • Twitter 5-10 days
    • LinkedIn once a day, business focus
    • YouTube when you have something good and worthwhile
  • Frightening end- managing a social media brand takes about 26% of a working week.

    So if you haven’t got time to do it, see her because that is what her company provides. Nice, subtle pitch!

    Good stuff. The challenge for the fundraisers here is, of course, what role social media can have with their fundraising.

    For me, social media is still best used for retention strategies, particularly for online and face to face recruited donors, and overlaying it with Game Layer is the best idea.

    Tenille Bentley

It’s about the (online) journey, not just the (online) destination

By Jonathon Grapsas

I don’t want to sound like a walking book of jargon, but it really is about the journey.

As much so when we talk about the online world. We as a sector spend far too much time worrying, finessing and getting distracted by the destination.

By the destination I mean your website.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an important place. And making sure you keep people there, capture data, share stories, and ultimately generate donations is critical.

But getting people there, and finding ways to attract new sources is paramount.

As my colleague Sean Triner says, having a brilliant website (with no traffic) is like having the world’s best department store in the middle of the desert. Useless.

When I talk to fundraisers about developing a digital road-map for raising more money online, I often hear people say “yes, well we’re building a new website” or “our website is rubbish”.

They’re focused on the end result, the destination.

Yes it’s important, but spending a tonne of effort and resources on building the world’s most aesthetically pleasing website is going to be a complete waste of time without any traffic to drive there.

Consider these traffic driving questions:

– Are you looking at ways to re-engage and drive online prospects back to your site? By online prospects I mean previous activists, e-newsletter subscribers or enquirers.

– Are you investing time managing your search activity? See here for an earlier post on Google AdWords for charities. What about your organic listing? Are you spending time to make sure you are ranked as high as possible in search engines, such as Google?

– Are you re-targeting visitors to your site with a different offer? For example, of the 5,000 visitors to your site each month, the majority visit and then bounce away, meaning you haven’t ‘closed the deal’. Re-targeting allows you to present your offer again to these prospects in an effort to re-engage them. It’s relatively inexpensive and is used regularly by those in the commercial world. Yet we seem to be slow on the take up on this. Easier to re-engage than introduce ourselves to those who don’t know us.

– Have you investigated the new frontiers in online advertising? The power of behavioral and contextual advertising, where you can present your offer to people whose online behavior dictates they have some affinity/interest in you. Again the commercial world is leaps and bounds ahead of us here, but the technology exists, it’s about tapping into whats out there to ensure we’re locating real prospects who are showing characteristics that suggest they care. In real time.

Don’t get me wrong, the destination requires time and effort. It requires thought around ways to engage and capture. But remember, that without the traffic it really is like the best department store in the desert.

The mobile movement

By Jonathon Grapsas

Stumbled across this brilliant schematic yesterday which encapsulates perfectly the incredible shift in the mobile world.

It’s time we accepted (granted, I know many of you have long ago) that our use of technology and the way we share content, communicate and transfer information has changed forever.

Consider some of these pieces of data, and alongside them ‘thoughts’ about what they mean for fundraisers:

– 1 in 4 mobile users have smart-phones globally (in Australia it’s close to 1 in 2). Does your online approach consider the way people are viewing your content? Are you mobile enabled? If not, consider the barriers you’re placing in front of your constituents.

– 86% of mobile internet users are using their devices while watching TV. Your supporters and prospects are becoming more and more distracted. Are you working specifically on ‘sticky’ material and messaging that cuts through? The ‘traditional’ way to evoke emotion and capture someone’s attention may not have the same impact when American Idol is blaring in the background.

– Within three years mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage. The 17 inch monitor is becoming less and less relevant. It isn’t simply about adjusting our creative for smaller screens or tablets, but thinking through how our shift in mobile behavior is impacting when and how we’re viewing stuff. “I’ll go online during my lunch break” is a far less used term. A shift in our online behavior dictates a shift in our online thinking and approach. The when, where and how has changed.

First presentation at AFP: Monthly giving online

By Sean Triner

Here is my first presentation from the AFP Conference – I hope that you find it useful, whether you were there or not.