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Farra Trompeter 7 min read

Multi-Channel Fundraising: Strategies and Tools to Engage Donors through Integrated Campaigns

Last week I had the pleasure of moderating a panel about this timely topic of multi-channel fundraising and communication for NTEN’s 501 Tech Club New York City at the TADA! Youth Theater. Simon Moloney, NPower Network & Conifer Analytics and Rebecca Willett, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, joined me on the panel discussion.

With all the new technology out there, nonprofit organizations have more ways than ever to reach donors online. Our discussion on November 18, 2009 offered ideas to help participants craft a strategy to raise money and engage donors through integrated campaigns, understand how to use all the different channels and tools out there (including social media, email, websites, mobile, mail, etc.), and learn by example through a case study about carrying one message across many platforms.

For those of you who missed it, here are some of the big ideas:

  • With so many channels, begin with a clear strategy and strong story.

Twitter is buzzing. Facebook is a rock star. Emails are up and running. Jumping into the tactics is fun, but before you try and come up with the next ‘trending topic’ on Twitter, pause and develop the overarching strategy and story.  A good strategy offers a clear set of goals, details about your audiences and what you want them to do PLUS what they want from you, metrics to monitor success, schedule, budget and more. After you have a handle on the big picture, move next into the content. What is the story you want your organization or campaign to tell? How can you communicate a compelling call to action and how does the story change across channels? And while you are at it—keep it consistent.  What may seem boring to you, is reassuring to others—especially donors.

  • If you are a social media newbie, listen first.  If you are a social media veteran, keep listening.

Use tools like Google Alerts, Technorati and TweetBeep to find where your audiences are—and how they are using social media.  Build your listening dashboard  and let your audience shape your message and your strategy.  Forrester Research’s social technographics may be old hat to some, but many haven’t thought about their audiences along this spectrum. And what about you—take this quiz and see where you fall.

  • Engaging your audiences in conversation in social media is great--but don’t forget about your website.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America will soon be launching a 24/7 chat feature on its site and via texting to help deliver health services information and answer questions. Other organizations host discussions, polls, commenting and more. Twitter is exciting, but more people still probably go to your site first.

  • When was the last time you tested?

Testing lets you see what works and can help you get better conversion rates (for example higher percentage of # of people who make a gift over # of visits to your donation page).  While you may need a large email list, to get statistically significant results, consider putting your landing pages through an A/B Test with Google’s Website Optimizer.  Speaking of testing, how does your website look on a smartphone? Could a donor easily make a gift?  Rumor has it that by 2012, everyone will have one…

What are your thoughts on this topic? With year-end season in full-effect, what is your organization’s strategy to leverage all these great channels and tools?

Farra Trompeter is vice president of client relationships + strategy at Big Duck, a firm that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations to transform the way they communicate through strategy and creative. She tweets at @farra.

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