Nonprofits and  New Blood:
Donor Value Over 12 Months $96 $187 Traditional 1 +95% Source: Convio whitepaper entitled “Integrating Online Marketing (e...
Unsubscribes Email bounces Lapsing records This is your email file! Annual churn rate is 18%! – 2011 eNonprofit Benchmarks...
Organic Results Paid Ads
*This is a term coined by Seth Godin.
[email_address] Twitter and Linkedin: @jocelynharmon
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Nonprofits and new blood final 5.11


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All businesses need to find new customers or die. It's no different for non-profits, although in our case, we need to recruit new donors, advocates, members and volunteers to stay alive. There are numerous tactics for building your online list, including Search Engine Marketing, Word of Mouth Marketing, Social Media, Online Advocacy and Lead Generation. This presentation will provide you with an overview of these tactics. In addition, it will review ways to evaluate the performance of your online acquisition programme so that you can improve your return on investment.

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  • Thanks for joining me today for a discussion of online acquisition strategies and tactics for nonprofits. Like all businesses, nonprofits need to find new customers, if you will, or die! We need donors, members, advocacy supporters and volunteers to fuel our work. Today I want to talk a little about what online acquisition is, why you should care and how you can do it. So let’s begin.
  • Online acquisition is the practice of inviting new constituents into your organization. In many ways it’s like dating. If done well it can be exhilarating, exciting and rewarding. If done poorly, it can be a disaster!
  • The are 4 reasons why you should care about online acquisition. 1. Direct mail is declining in effectiveness. For example, the Target Analytics 2009 Index of National Fundraising Performance for the Third Quarter , shows direct mail declining rapidly in effectiveness as a way to acquire new donors. In the past five years, new donor acquisition has declined almost 20 percent, or about 3.6 percent annually, the report says. In response to this decline and the high cost of direct mail, many nonprofits are incorporating new tactics for finding “new blood.” In particular, many are turning to online recruitment and advertising. 2. Online donors give offline but the reverse is not as likely to be true. So, if you want to engage in the buzzword of the year – MULTI CHANNEL Marketing – it’s more strategic to engage in online acquisition. 3. Connect with younger prospects. This will not surprise you, but according to Pew Internet and American Life Project, 95% of 18 – 29 year olds are online 87% of 30 – 49 year olds online. If you want to get younger folks engaged with your organization, you should seriously consider online acquisition. Finally, scaling up an online fundraising program is a lot FREE but it is less expensive than scaling up a direct mail program. Thus, it can be very cost-effective to find new donors, members and supporters online.
  • So let’s talk a little about the performance on offline vs. offline AND online donors. Check out this is a study by Convio, an online sofware service. It compares the value of traditional = offline vs. and “internet enabled” donors and donations. Internet-enabled is defined a both offline and online use. What it shows is Over 12 months, internet enabled donors are worth more! 95% according to this study. Internet-enabled donors renew at a higher rate. 48% according to this study. And, PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANT, if you look at the LIFETIME VALUE of Internet-enabled donors, they are worth 121% MORE than traditional donors. Again, this is more evidence for the importance of multi-channel fundraising.
  • And, finally, in addition to supercharging you fundraising program, acquiring more constituents and donor-leads online may help you with your grassroots advocacy efforts. According to the eNonprofit Benchmark Study…..
  • Ok, you’re sold! But here’s the problem. This is your email file!!! It’s LEAKY! Some of your email addresses are non-working, some of your donors have lapsed. And, whether you like it or not you’re likely to see 18% annual churn on your email file per year. Couple this with the fact that acquisition is at a trickle vs. a gusher and you can see the problem you face. Flat or lower donations. Aging file. Less engagement. Generally, less business. Like any small business nonprofits need a constant supply of new blood – new prospective donors, members and supporters who will get excited about and engage in their organizations. So, let’s now turn to how to do this!
  • There are many tactics for filling your acquisition funnel. I want to talk about these 8 today.
  • #1 Collect email addresses on your website. This is a no-brainer but many nonprofits still are not leveraging their own websites to do online acquisition. If you are one of the culprits. You know who you are! But a sign up box on your site today! Although, you unlikely to get a GUSHER of new “leads” in this way. The folks who do subscribe to your email list via your OWN website may be some of your become some of your best donors. In terms of online sign-ups, a best practice is to ask for as little information as possible and to OFFER VALUE in exchange. For example, IFAW only asks for First Name Last Name Email Address You May also want to ask for Zipcode. This will allow you to append postal addresses later. Again, put your sign up box on every page of your site. Make it easy to access and complete.
  • The second tactic is to leverage offline communications. Be sure to leverage all of your offline communications to capture email addresses. NO PRINT piece should go out of your organization without a URL for your website and a way for people to connect with you online! Even better… direct people to a specific landing page on your site (not your homepage) to sign up to receive more information from you
  • This is true of events too. Always give folks a way to connect with you online! Remember, you have to offer something of value in exchange for an email address.
  • Tactic #3 is Engage in online Advocacy. One of the best tactics for both ACHIEVING YOUR MISSION and growing your email list is to engage in online advocacy. Here is an example of a current campaign being run by Emily’s List and MoveON. Again, the “ask” is very clear and they only ask for 4 pieces of information. I also like how they provide a brief video if you want to learn more about the War on Women. You can test whether adding video to your advocacy campaigns detracts or enhancing the sign-up process for users.
  • Here is another example of an online advocacy campaign from Defenders of Wildlife, which seeks to BOTH achieve an advocacy goal – Stop Harmful Offshore Driling – AND serve as an online acquisition vehicle.
  • I know that some of you are probably thinking – my organization doesn’t DO POLITICAL advocacy. That’s ok. Here is a great example from America Cancer Society of an “advocacy” campaign called Join the Movement for More Birthdays. Be creative. Create a quiz or poll or pledge if you can’t do political advocacy. The main point is to get people engaged and to get their email addresses!
  • So we’ve talked about acquiring new donor-leads via your website, offline and by doing advocacy. The 4 th tactic that I want to talk about today is getting found in Search. A full discussion of Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization is beyond the scope of this presentation. But if you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimization in particular, I highly recommend Inbound Marketing by the team at HubSpot. Still, here are some basics for you to keep in mind. 1 st a huge majority of traffic to your site is probably driven by the major search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing. Think of it this way. If you want to meet a new guy or gal, you have to go where they hang out. And, hang out on Google is what people do. There are two ways for you to get found in Search. You can write content (and a lot of it) that ranks high on certain terms. For example, in this screenshot, I searched for “Save the Seals” and you’ll notice that PETA and Humane Society of the United States come up 1 st and 2 nd respectively. The must be writing a lot of content around the seal hunt. The other way to get found in search is to pay for it, i.e. buy Google Ad Words. See the top results in pink and the right-hand side bar. These are paid ads. The good news is that Google gives free advertising to qualifying nonprofits via their Google Grant Program. Check it out and see if you qualify. A caveat: Getting found in Search is important but be sure to evaluate the Return on your investment. If you are paying on a Cost Per Click. Be sure that the people who click thru to your site are actually converting into subscribers. If they are clicking but not converting then you are actually paying a higher price per subscriber.
  • A 5 th way to “meet more people” and introduce them to your cause/organization is to get your current donors, members and supporters to do it for you! Let’s face it, you’ll never have an acquisition budget big enough to get all the new leads you want. So instead, “Flip Your Marketing Funnel” and turn it into a megaphone and get the people that love you most to tell their friends, family and supporters about you! Flip the Funnel is a FREE e-book by Seth Godin. The idea is this.
  • Here is how it can work. After a person sign-up for your email list or signs one of your advocacy actions or downloads an article from your site, or makes a donation, provide them with opportunities to spread the work. This is how we do it at my company – Care2. After someone takes an action on our site, we ask them to help this petition succeed by spreading the word via: Email Facebook Twitter A best practice is to give people suggestions for the content, i.e. tell them what you want them to tell their friends. Make it easy. In this way your donors become marketers for you!
  • Here is one caveat to the Flipping the Marketing Funnel idea. While you want people to spread the word about your via their preferred channels, for example Facebook, ultimately you still want to get these folks on your OWN database, especially if you goal is to RAISE MORE MONEY. Email is still the killer app for fundraising online. So do spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, MyGente, Black Planet, etc. but also try to invite these people to join your list!
  • Our 6 th tactic for online acquisition is doing a chaperoned email or list. This can be a highly effective tactic if you can pull it off. Quite simply, work with you coalition partners and or sister-orgs to share lists. You send an email to your list, inviting them to learn more about your partner org and your partner reciprocates. Anyone who “converts” or signs-up for your list is now a new lead. Don’t forget about your corporate partners! They have BIG lists and may be willing to do a chaperoned email on your behalf. This may be more valuable than a outright grant. In this example, Disables American Veterans partnered with Country Kitchen on a chaperoned email. Here is the text. “ Throughout May, everyone who dines at Country Kitchen will have a chance to make a donation to “Help a Hero” before they leave. The DAV will use the funds to provide urgently needed programs and services to disabled veterans. It’s a good way to mark the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, especially during this time of conflict. And you’ll see the great things the DAV does for disabled veterans when you CLICK to SIGN UP for DAV’s eNEWSLETTER. The monthly DAV eNewsletter is free, exciting, and filled with great information.
  • Tactic 7 will not help you find NEW prospects online but it will help you to build your online file quickly and it can help you engage in multi-channel marketing. Email appending is the process of working with a third-party vendor to match your offline file with their database. Here is how it works: You send your offline file to the vendor. They look for email matches in their database. They send an opt-out email to all of the people letting them know that you are GOING TO START connecting with them online unless they opt-out. They send the email matches back to you. Again, this practice will not get you new leads, but it will enable you to start emailing people ALREADY on your file. One caveat: Some nonprofits say that appended email addresses don’t perform as well as emails acquired in other ways. This is something you should test.
  • The 8 th and final tactic that I am going to talk about today is paid acquisition or Cost Per Lead advertising. Shameless plug: This is what I do at Care2. Basically, this is the process of paying ONLY when you receive an explicit sign-up for your list, from an interested consumer.
  • Here is how it works. We send targeted emails to our members to educate them about an ISSUE. In this case, we’re letting Care2 members know about the
  • We invite Care2 members to sign the petition.
  • Care2 members can subscribe to your list. You only pay when someone subscribes!
  • I’ve just reviewed 8 tactics for doing online acquisition and growing your email list. The scary part is there are MORE! So, with a limited budget and staff capacity how to you choose what to do first.
  • It’s VERY important that you approach this decision as an empirical question and get a handle on what an email address is worth. And, we can help. On Care2, we’ve developed a handy calculator which can help you discern the average value of an email address. A few key points here. Be sure to look at LIFETIME VALUE. All things being equal your file your INCREASE in value over time.
  • You can also compare your organization to the benchmarks. In this study by Convio, the average lifetime value per email for all nonprofit segments or verticals was $9.83.
  • In this more recent study by NTEN and M+R Strategic Services the online value per usable email address for all verticals was $12.48. Note for FoodBanks that online revenue per usable email address was $51.98!! Once you know the average value of an email address you can determine an appropriate cost to pay. An additional note: Be aware of payment terms, this will effect your calculations. For example, paying on a Cost Per Click may be cheaper up front but if few of the people who click end up joining your list, this can actually be a very expensive tactic.
  • Finally, once you have new people on your list – TREAT THEM WELL. Just like you new date. Be welcoming. Tell you story and also LISTEN to theirs. Find ways for people to DO STUFF other than donate so that they feel like they are really a part of your movement. That said, you should still ask for donations. Finally, be sure to say THANK YOU and let you knew donors know HOW THEY ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE and that you APPRECIATE their investments. This is your best way to ensure that a great date turns into a BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP!
  • Nonprofits and new blood final 5.11

    1. 1. Nonprofits and New Blood:
    2. 4. Donor Value Over 12 Months $96 $187 Traditional 1 +95% Source: Convio whitepaper entitled “Integrating Online Marketing (eCRM) with Direct Mail Fundraising” 1 Traditional defined as offline use. 2 Internet Enabled defined as both offline and eCRM use. Internet Enabled 2 34.4% 50.9% New Donor Renewal Rate Traditional +48% Internet Enabled Lifetime Donor Value $314 $694 Lifetime Donor Value Traditional +121% Internet Enabled
    3. 6. Unsubscribes Email bounces Lapsing records This is your email file! Annual churn rate is 18%! – 2011 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study
    4. 14. Organic Results Paid Ads
    5. 15. *This is a term coined by Seth Godin.
    6. 29. [email_address] Twitter and Linkedin: @jocelynharmon