From time to time we enjoy highlighting the efforts of our professional peers as they bring great ideas in marketing or design or communication to the general public. Today we look at a recent publication by register online. Your registration includes the opportunity to join PMG’s email list. You also will be registered for the drawing for the free iPad. As the chances of my winning the iPad decrease as readers register, I would like to introduce a couple of the points here that the staff at MKCREATIVE were especially drawn to share with our readers., who specialize in email and direct mail campaigns. They have e-published a PDF entitled “10 Best Practices for Online Fundraising” that really includes a bonus eleventh practice for your efforts to
The first point on the list of practices is one that we have discussed a couple of times here before, but bears repeating: “Set up a listening post: Listening online is an effective way to gather information related to your organization or its mission. You can get a real good idea of what the hot topics are now and get a feel for what is being said around those topics.” We learned it in grade school, thought we didn’t need to do it in high school, and we should know better now: Listen first. What are others in your field writing/posting about? What are people posting in the comments? Can you find competing voices on issues? Are your sources following many stories or following a couple closely? Feel comfortable scaling the people and groups you are following as you get comfortable with the media technology (Twitter, Digg, Facebook, Blog …) and as you refine your organization’s interests.
Number Three: “Coordinate your offline/online mailings.” The concept seems a no-brainer, as the Project Management Group concedes, but remembering the need for consistency of messaging can really boost the flow of donations.
Coordination will allow you to deliver your message consistently while maximizing donor value. Make an overall production plan, one that includes all campaigns offline and online, a part of your organization’s practice.
Unfortunately, once different people or (especially) departments start working on their part of the project, and create different workflows with different designers and writers, the unified vision of the staff meeting a couple of months ago can seem a faint and lovely memory. Keep the original design and goals front-and-center throughout the processes.
Finally (here – we are giving you a teasing three of eleven), use what has worked with traditional mail campaigns in your online efforts. Encourage gifts online based on what contributors have mailed in in the past, for example. Be sure to include strong calls to action to inspire clickthroughs (probably easier than inspiring a hunt for the checkbook). Make the online outreach in a rhetorical style that has worked in print in the past. Innovation is absolutely a necessity, but you need not reinvent your wheel as your organization draws up an online strategy.
Check out the other tidbits of great advice in the “10 Best Practices.” Donors want to continue their philanthropy even during the recession, but they might need a bit more courting from your organization than in the past. And I was joking about trying to keep you from registering with EngageYourCause.com. You should, and read all eleven great practices for fundraising! When you win the iPad, you can use it to post a comment on our blog about how your business or organization have used or are trying to develop online fundraising strategies. We would love to hear from you.