How to Grow Offline Support by Executing Stronger Online Strategies

Last week I kicked off the Blackbaud Power Hour series with a webinar on tips to get donors into the pipeline. For me it all comes down to a renewed focus online. With proper planning and execution, a stronger online fundraising and marketing strategy can grow all of your avenues of offline support.

While I could have easily come up with 20 ideas and tactics for building a sustainable pipeline of support, I narrowed it down to 6.

 1. Optimize your website for conversion

As you evaluate your website for conversion, concentrate on a few key areas: make sure you have a responsive design so that people can take action, focus on the visitor and what they want to learn and do, have multiple calls to action with a variety of choices, and have content and images that tell stories related to the mission.

2. Create a customer journey through segmentation

The beauty of online communications is that you can target messages based on behavior, interests and demographics. By using the tools at your disposable you can send messages and post content that will move people to get involved and give based on what they want to see and read. Mass blasts don’t produce results anymore.

3. Implement a plan for donor recognition, stewardship and engagement

I’ll say it again, retention is the new acquisition and if you want to grow a pipeline of support you need to put a significant focus on keeping donors. Finding new donors costs more than keeping the ones you have and by stewarding, engaging and staying in touch with supporters you CAN grow your pipeline of support through gift upgrades and giving diversification (ie: that sustainer donor is a great prospect for an estate gift).

4. Develop awesome content

I don’t think this is news to anyone, but the general public is not your audience. Evaluate your content across channels (website, email, social, blog, videos, etc) and put things out there that will engage your captive audience in the mission. #1 rule for 2015: don’t bore your audience.

5. Ask, thank, then ask again

It still surprises me how many organizations don’t solicit their online constituents more than once a year, yet many will send numerous direct mail appeals in the next 12 months. You should run at least 3-4 multi-message online appeals that are integrated across channels. Why multiple messages? Because sending one email doesn’t cut it, a multi-message appeal will boost your results by as much as 3-4x.

Multi-message campaigns increase results

6. Establish a DIY event

While 3rd party or do-it-yourself fundraising events aren’t new, the technology to harness the power of peer 2 peer fundraising has never been better. Test the waters with simple concepts like asking constituents to donate their birthday for the cause, getting a team together to host a a cupcake sale or honoring a friend for a milestone like graduation or beating cancer.

Keep in mind, an easy or quick tactic doesn’t usually provide long term impact or growth. The tactics I’ve included below will pay off with thoughtful implementation and follow up that allows for an evolution of your program.

To watch the webinar you can register on the Power Hour page and even register for future sessions. The best part? The series is free and all of the speakers have experience working with nonprofits across the U.S. and Canada.

Power Hour Series