The story so far: charity websites and email


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Presented at the Institute of Fundraising North's conference on fundraising and social media at York on 12 February 2009, this presentation was designed to cover the basics of online fundraising and give delegates some background to how online fundraising had developed.

The message was - don't panic. Address the basics of getting your charity's website and online communications right, before you embark too far on engaging with social media.

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The story so far: charity websites and email

  1. 1. The story so far: charity websites and email (The good, the bad and just don't go there!) Presented at Institute of Fundraising North, York 12 February 2009 Howard Lake Fundraising UK Ltd [email_address] 01206 579081
  2. 2. since November 1994
  3. 3. Today <ul><li>Don’t panic. Get the basics right. </li></ul><ul><li>Website planning and design </li></ul><ul><li>The use of email by charities </li></ul><ul><li>Raising funds through your website </li></ul>
  4. 4. Guinness World Record Between 6.16pm on 30 December and 6.16pm on 31 December 2004, the DEC website received 166,936 donations, raising £10,676,836 for the Tsunami Earthquake Appeal. This is the most money ever donated online in 24 hours. Guinness World Records
  5. 5. &quot;New media is a very high-reach, low-cost medium driven by content. The great advantage for charities is that they have a great story to tell… New media allows people to participate, so they're not passive recipients of advertising.&quot; Joe Barrell Head of Communications, Save the Children Collecting by Clicks, by Trina Wallace 17 May 2007
  6. 6. 1. Website planning and design <ul><li>How do you make a successful fundraising website? </li></ul>Photo: Pink Sherbet on
  7. 7. Clear thinking <ul><li>Charity’s fundraising objectives? </li></ul><ul><li>Target audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising priorities? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your top 3? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resources: content, time, staff </li></ul><ul><li>How to measure results? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do/would you? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. More thinking <ul><li>Third party providers e.g. Justgiving? Bmycharity? </li></ul><ul><li>Gathering visitor data (and using it) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer newsletter, alerts? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Giving – print-out forms e.g. direct debit, telephone number, and online credit/debit. </li></ul><ul><li>Legal issues e.g. copyright (inc. photos), charity number on every page </li></ul><ul><li>Domain name(s) – renewal dates? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Building it <ul><li>Technology: content management system (database) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it easier </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ongoing access to skills </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is it accessible? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Building it (2) <ul><li>Build to be found </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good <TITLE>s, meta tags, use of keywords? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Building it (3) <ul><li>Accept/encourage content from users </li></ul><ul><li>Use all easy-win opportunities e.g. RSS, Google Analytics, site map </li></ul>
  12. 12. Benefits of a site map November 2007
  13. 13. Donate now button <ul><li>Make it prominent and consistent on every page </li></ul><ul><li>Button or content? </li></ul><ul><li>But… don’t rely on it </li></ul>
  14. 14. Test prompted levels of giving 16 March 2007
  15. 15. Testing the website <ul><li>Test it yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Ask friendly volunteers/supporters to test it </li></ul><ul><li>Check paths to giving </li></ul><ul><li>… launch! </li></ul>
  16. 16. Easy errors Forgetting to update your copyright notice’s year on your website. (US figures for end of January 2007) Source:
  17. 17. Running and developing it <ul><li>Timetable for updates – who, when, how? </li></ul><ul><li>Adding new features – your ideas, and your users </li></ul><ul><li>Continue cross-organisation planning </li></ul><ul><li>Watch and learn from other charities/companies/your users… </li></ul>
  18. 18. 2. Using email <ul><li>Why email? </li></ul><ul><li>Basics – legal, responding, signatures </li></ul><ul><li>Email newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Viral emails </li></ul>
  19. 19. E-mail is important Repeat after me:  &quot;Email is more important than my Web site!&quot; Michael Gilbert The Gilbert E-mail Manifesto April 2001
  20. 20. Web, web, web, web… So long as online fundraising was defined by the ability to take credit card transactions through a web interface, I was a skeptic Michael Gilbert Frictionless Fundraising: How the Internet can Bring Fundraising back into Balance February 2003
  21. 21. Staying legal <ul><li>Opt-in (or even better, double opt-in) is the key to successful email fundraising </li></ul><ul><li>Never spam or send unsolicited commercial email (UCE) </li></ul><ul><li>Data Protection Act 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, in force since 11 December 2003 </li></ul>
  22. 22. Answering e-mails to your charity <ul><li>Does your charity have a policy? </li></ul><ul><li>What about people on holiday? </li></ul><ul><li>Are messages archived? </li></ul>
  23. 23. Use email signatures <ul><li>Short – 6-7 lines </li></ul><ul><li>Contact details, including web and email </li></ul><ul><li>Legally required details </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising call to action, including web link </li></ul><ul><li>Change call to action regularly </li></ul>
  24. 24. 80% of Guide Dogs' income comes from legacies. They are crucial to maintaining our long-term commitment to meeting the mobility needs of blind and partially sighted people. For more information about how you could help transform peoples lives forever with a gift in your Will, please contact Iain McAndrew on 0118 983 8284 Email: or visit us at
  25. 25. E-mail newsletters for donors The mailing list… is probably the most powerful tool a non-profit has to connect campaigners. Mike Johnston The Fund Raiser’s Guide to the Internet 1999, p.169
  26. 26. Combining media works Response rates to direct mail fundraising appeals may increase 18-20% when mailed to donors who have also signed up to receive e-newsletters from the non-profit. Rick Christ NPAdvisors February 2003
  27. 27. E-mail newsletter lifts giving <ul><li>Stanford University e-mailed 36,398 alumni in 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>“ a greater percentage of recipients than non-recipients made a gift” </li></ul><ul><li>Reactivated lapsed donors: “among lapsed donors… 32% of recipients made a gift in FY2000 — compared to 22% of non-recipients” </li></ul>@Stanford and Alumni Giving September 2000
  28. 28. Make it easy for subscribers
  29. 29. Best day to send an email? A recommendation on the best day to mail: today. As soon as you have something that your donors will want to read, get it approved and send it right away. Now is always better than later. Shattering Online Fundraising Myths Rick Christ and Heather Fignar 14 February 2005
  30. 30. Wood Green Animal Shelters and Dodger The shelter needed £3,000 to pay for an operation to save Dodger. It sent 200 emails to staff and supporters, which raised the money in 48 hours - signing up 84 new donors in the process. Step closer to the holy grail Caspar van Vark, The Guardian 8 November 2006
  31. 31. Use third-party tools <ul><li>Charity Technology Trust </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CharityeMail </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Gather email addresses
  33. 33. Cultivate your mailing list <ul><li>Respond to unsubscribe requests </li></ul><ul><li>Design to get through spam-traps and firewalls </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid certain words, don’t use just graphics, avoid all CAPITALS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learn from delivery and clickthrough reports </li></ul>
  34. 34. Emails can have viral effect
  35. 35. Other email opportunities <ul><li>Sell adverts on your email newsletter </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Email this to a friend’ on your website </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t just ask for money e.g. solus Gift Aid conversion? </li></ul><ul><li>Offer sample text on website for free ads in supporters’ email newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Branded email: address for life? </li></ul>
  36. 36. Action <ul><li>Develop e-mail signature and timescale </li></ul><ul><li>Check legality/currency of existing e-mail addresses </li></ul><ul><li>Gather e-mail addresses </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce e-mail newsletter </li></ul><ul><li>Offer daily/weekly e-mail alerts </li></ul><ul><li>Test direct e-mail campaign e.g. Gift Aid </li></ul><ul><li>But don’t expect primacy of email to last </li></ul>
  37. 37. Why fundraise with e-mail? Yes, the Internet can facilitate spamming people with more and more requests for money. But its low cost and high touch aspects can also facilitate treating almost every donor with the care and depth of a major donor. That is a genuine breakthrough with enormous rewards. Michael Gilbert Frictionless Fundraising September 2004
  38. 38. 3. Raising funds via your website <ul><li>First, consider sponsorship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>whole site, sections, categories, email newsletter? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But you’ll need stats (Google Analytics) </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. … and on the sponsor’s site
  40. 40. Getting the basics right <ul><li>Support all your fundraising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>events listing, tickets, selling t-shirts, shopping list for trusts, big gift opportunities, legacies, Gift Aid, payroll giving, corporate support… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make it easy to give </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paper forms, telephone, online donations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Named contacts for e.g. legacies, companies? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make these measurable </li></ul>Photo: Courtney Icenhour
  41. 41. Use humour (Guinness) 22 March 2005
  42. 42. Humour: page not found
  43. 43. With a little help from your friends <ul><li>Amazon associates </li></ul><ul><li>Everyclick </li></ul><ul><li>Justgiving / Bmycharity </li></ul><ul><li>eBay for Charity </li></ul><ul><li>The Big Give </li></ul><ul><li>CAF </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Google Adwords/Google Adsense </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook Causes </li></ul><ul><li>MySpace Impact </li></ul><ul><li>Bebobeone </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Easyfundraising </li></ul>
  44. 44. London Marathon 2005 <ul><li>8,492 runners raised almost £5.3 million via 3 days before the event. Includes nearly £1 million in Gift Aid </li></ul><ul><li>On 13 April, £250,000 raised online by runners </li></ul><ul><li>630 charities fundraising online with the Marathon </li></ul>
  45. 45. Amazon associates <ul><li>List relevant books on your site, earn a share of sales income. Payment every month. </li></ul>
  46. 46. <ul><li>Earn income on your supporters’ shopping online at 500+ stores. </li></ul>
  47. 47.
  48. 48. Google AdSense <ul><li>Let Google deliver context-relevant adverts on your site </li></ul><ul><li>Earn money every time an ad is clicked on </li></ul>
  49. 49. The
  50. 50.
  51. 51. <ul><li>£11,000 is raised on eBay for Charity every day </li></ul><ul><li>An eBay for Charity item sells every 2 minutes </li></ul><ul><li> has over 20 million users </li></ul><ul><li>£5,855,247 raised by 2,831 charities since 2006 </li></ul> July 2008
  52. 52. Just when you were ready… Photo: aloshbennett on
  53. 53. So, what should you do? <ul><li>Get the basics of your website and email communications right </li></ul><ul><li>Use third-party online fundraising tools </li></ul><ul><li>Get ready to engage with your supporters on their favourite sites… </li></ul>
  54. 54. A practical approach to success Oxfam’s Web site is moving from being ‘about Oxfam GB’ to ‘being Oxfam GB’ Andrew Hatton Oxfam GB June 2001
  55. 55. Find out more <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> (free registration required) </li></ul>
  56. 56. Thank you Howard Lake Fundraising UK Ltd [email_address] 01206 579081