Saturday, January 3, 2015

3 tips for earning more from online

Online fundraising is of key importance to most charities looking to achieve healthy income growth, or perhaps even survival, in the future. However, the truth is that for all the fascinating new ways in which nonprofit organisations can engage with donors via the internet, in most countries the proportion of charity income received online remains irritatingly small.
For example, Australians are keen online shoppers and a November 2013 study from The Summer Foundation found that of 800 Australians surveyed, 26% ranked online as their preferred way to donate. Yet few Australian charities see anything like that proportion of their income arriving online. So what's causing the gap between expectations and the reality?
Some say "online shoppers are just not the same people as our donors". However, this seems increasingly unlikely as ecommerce is adopted by ever more consumers. Indeed, Blackbaud's Next Generation of American Giving research found that valuable Baby Boomer donors (born 1946-1964) said they were as likely to give online as via direct mail.
A more likely reason for the gap is that most charities have yet to evolve beyond the discrete silos they've always worked in. No organisation can successfully plan and deliver online engagement unless all teams can work together effectively.
If you're a fundraiser whose online income is suffering because of traditional silo-itis, then here are three quick tips to help you start on the road to recovery:
1. Don't treat fundraising and online fundraising as different disciplines
Fundraising is about inspiring people to help change the world for the better by funding your organisation's work. Online simply offers you new ways to achieve this same fundamental objective. Don’t start by thinking about doing new things online. First focus on what fundraising is working for you already and how online might make it work even better.
2. Focus on the basics before getting too excited about 'innovation'
According to UK user, experience specialists Nomensa, 47% of would-be online donors give up before donating because of badly designed websites. So ensuring your donation pages work for the user will certainly deliver you more income. The clarity that you'll gain from such focus will also be key to you effectively assessing any new opportunities and will mean you’re better able to brief your digital team on the priority activities needed to help you raise more money.
3. Adopt a consistent approach to planning across all teams
An integrated strategy is needed if you are to achieve maximum benefit from the resources you have available. Those organisations which have successfully recovered from silo-itis typically use a clearly defined and consistent objectives-led approach to planning, measuring, and evaluating online activities across all teams. That way, conflicting requirements can be identified and addressed as early as possible, consistent and coherent messaging can be achieved through all digital channels, and effort and investment will be focused where it delivers best value.
Bryan Miller has been a UK-based marketing and fundraising consultant for more than 20 years, specialising in helping nonprofits around the world make more effective use of digital engagement to support their fundraising, campaigning and communications.



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