When it comes to Nonprofit fundraising, there is no such thing as having too many donors. Even after a couple of successful years, there is always room to grow. That means your organization needs to be constantly working to find and gain new supporters. During this process, the question that most Nonprofits ask themselves is:
"Where can I find more potential donors?"
Online is a good place to start. Millions of people use the Internet everyday, so optimizing your online presence will help you tap in to some of this traffic.
While online networking is only one of several strategies you can incorporate into your donor acquisition plan, it should certainly be among your top priorities. The various websites and tools you can leverage online will help you to broaden your reach, share information and advertise events.
Your online marketing strategy should focus on two things:
1. Review Your Website
If your Nonprofit doesn’t already have a website, then it is time to create one. If your organization does have a website, take a careful look at it for areas that need improvement.
The whole point of creating a website is to Excite, Educate and Acquire new donors. Think of your website as your physical storefront. As people walk by, you want to pique their interest enough to get them to walk inside.
Your website is the bread and butter of your online marketing strategy and if done well, will help to attract both younger and older donors. Here a few things to consider when looking at your website:
- Obvious Subscribe Button: This is the all-important Acquisition part of having a website. People who subscribe to email updates are all new potential donors, so the most important thing you can do is have an obvious place for visitors to subscribe and receive updates, events and opportunities to donate.
- Include Pictures: Pictures are going to contribute to the Excitement factor. Try to include real photos from your organization. With smartphones in almost everyone's pocket there shouldn't be any shortage of pictures to choose from, it's just a matter of collecting them from people. Also try to avoid too many stock photos - which can come across as phony.
- Be Succinct: The text you have on your homepage is used to Educate visitors, but too much of it will overwhelm the viewer and usually go unread. People browsing the internet are inherently ADD and will only spend a few seconds looking over your site. Keep your text to a minimum!
- Up-to-date Content: Don't let your content become stale! If you have information on your homepage about an event that has already passed, visitors will see that as a sign of inactivity and quickly disregard the rest of the information presented on the site.
Websites that are effective are always reader-friendly. If you have a poorly designed site that is difficult to navigate, has an overwhelming design or displays text in a font that is too hard to read, your audience won’t even bother looking at the information you’ve provided. They’ll simply exit out and move on to something else. Make sure readability and logical navigation are two top priorities when designing your website.
Assuming your website looks clean and readable, the next step is to consider your content. Remember, your ultimate end goal is to acquire new donors. Your content should draw people in and compel them to want to get involved with your cause. Encourage donations throughout your content and share information about your upcoming events.
An effective Nonprofit website should include the following information upfront:
- General information about the organization
- How contributions are used if they donate
- Impact the Nonprofit has made so far
- Objectives/Goals for both short and long term
Make sure you touch on all of these subjects to give users a better idea of the work your Nonprofit does and how they can help you make a difference.
2. Attract New Visitors
A great website will only benefit your organization if people visit it!
Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ are excellent FREE tools for interacting with potential supporters and getting them to your website. Unlike emails or monthly newsletters, social media posts can be seen beyond your current donor database through shares, re-tweets, and “likes” and reach those who have never heard of your Nonprofit before.
You can use these social media platforms to share “teasers” and intrigue users by advertising your exciting benefit events for free on these platforms. Social media users who see an event they might consider attending can then click the link back to your website. There, people will get the details they need about your Nonprofit and the event itself before making a final decision.
Give it a try! Setting up an account on any of these social media platforms may be easier than you think. They all want to make it as easy as possible to set up new accounts, so many will walk you through step by step and offer additional resources to learn how best to use their particular service. There is also tons of literature out there for how best to utilize each service for things like promoting an organization or event.
Set aside an afternoon to create a new account on one of these platforms and take the time to completely familiarize yourself with it. Wait until you've mastered one before moving on to the next. Don't bite off more than you can chew!
If after an entire afternoon you find yourself still spinning your wheels, ask around your organization to see if anyone else has expertise in the area of social media. You can also reach out to a local university or college and offer an internship in social media management. The students there are usually very familiar with social media and some schools will even offer credits for internship hours.
Finding donors over the internet can be a difficult task without the right online presence. By developing a solid website and establishing a few methods for directing people to it, your online marketing strategy will prove much more effective.
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