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The art and science of online fundraising robert wood johnson final


Workshop presentation for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships Annual Meeting.

Workshop presentation for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships Annual Meeting.

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  • by connecting emotionally.
  • by showing the tangible change at stake.
  • by instilling urgency of action.
  • by using the right messengers.
  • For more information on best practices in donor cultivation, see Tip 7 in the Procrastinator’s Guide to End Year-End Fundraising
  • This is true of events too. Always give folks a way to connect with you online!
  • 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.
  • 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. The KEY point here is that you can think of advocacy more broadly as a way to ENGAGE people in your work. (add definition)
  • 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:EmailFacebookTwitterA 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!


  • 1. The Art and Science of Fundraising Online
    Jocelyn Harmon
    Vice President of Sales and Marketing
    Network for Good
  • 2. Shameless self-promotion
    Network for Good is a nonprofit that makes it easy for donors to support any charity, anywhere online. We also help nonprofits raise funds for their missions through simple, affordable and effective online fundraising services, including donation processing and email outreach tools, as well free and paid training. We have processed $500 million in donations for more than 60,000 nonprofits since 2001!
    Visit the For Nonprofits tab on our website at to learn about our fundraising solutions, including DonateNow, EmailNow and EventsNow.
    Visit to sign up for our FREE webinars to help you succeed in winning hearts, minds and donations.  
    Visit our online Learning Center at for hundreds of articles about online fundraising and outreach.
    Subscribe to our weekly Tips eNewsletter to learn how you can do more to engage your supporters.
    Leave your business card with me (and take mine!) at the end of this training if you’d like us to follow up with you!
  • 3. Over $20 billion was raised online in 2010
    % of Total Giving
    Source: 2010 Online Giving Report, Blackbaud
  • 4. Online giving keeps growing
    Source: 2010 Online Giving Report, Blackbaud
  • 5. 88% of nonprofits had at least one online gift of $1,000 or more
    Source: 2010 Online Giving Report, Blackbaud
  • 6. Most gifts are still coming through the mail
    Source: 2011 donorCentrics Internet & Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report
  • 7. But more donors are coming in online every year
    Source: 2011 donorCentrics Internet & Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report
  • 8. …especially new, younger donors
    Source: 2011 donorCentrics Internet & Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report
  • 9. Donors acquired onlinehave higher incomes
    Source: 2011 donorCentrics Internet & Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report
  • 10. Donors acquired onlinegive larger gifts
    Source: 2011 donorCentrics Internet & Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report
  • 11. Donors acquired onlinegive more over time
    Source: 2011 donorCentrics Internet & Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report
  • 12. 33% of online giving happens in December
  • 13. You should master the art and science of fundraising online in time for year-end!
    What does it all mean?
  • 14. 6 Steps to Online Fundraising Success
  • 15. 1. Fix your donation page
    98% percent of visitors to an organization’s donate page LEAVE before making a donation.
    Remember: Offline donors are researching your organization online too!
  • 16. 1. Fix your donation page
  • 17. Fix your donation page
  • 18. Fix your donation page
  • 19. Fix your donation page
  • 20. 8 Must haves on your donation page
    One-page form.
    An “ask string.”
    No unnecessary fields. Hint: Don’t ask for my first-born!
    No non-giving options. Your donation form is about DONATING!
    Intuitive layout.
    Don’t make me create an account to donate.
    “Secure transaction” graphic and a link to your privacy policy.
    Contact information!
  • 21. 4 Other important elements
    Branded donation page.
    Recurring gift options
    Impact donation labels
    On behalf of/in honor of
    Third-party endorsements like Charity Navigator and donor testimonials
  • 22. 1. Branded donation page
  • 23. Branded donation page
  • 24. 2. Recurring gift option
  • 25. 3. Impact donation labels
  • 26. 4. On behalf of/in honor of
  • 27. 4. Third-party endorsements
  • 28. Blaze a trail to your donation form
    Your own site!
    Email appeals
    Google Ads
  • 29. 2. Don’t write crappy copy
    “No I won’t read it in a plane, on a train or in the rain. I won’t read it here or there. I won’t read it anywhere!”
  • 30. Every email appeal must answer 4 questions
    Why me?
    What for?
    Why now?
    Who says?
  • 31. Why me?
    “Donating to charity is a wholly irrational act, economically speaking. It doesn't benefit you, and in fact it leaves you poorer by precisely the amount you donate (save tax deductions). Whatever is behind the impulse to give to charity, it's not obvious. As economists and social scientists have begun in recent decades to study people's true motives for giving to charity, what they've found hasn't exactly been in keeping with the flattering way we humans like to see ourselves. While altruism may play its part, there are also many other factors at play when we donate: guilt, the desire to boost our social status, the need to feel good about ourselves, even our sex drives. Any attempt to understand why we give -- or to get us to give more -- must deal with this dirty and tangled reality. – “The Secret Reasons We Give to Charity”
  • 32. The Girl Effect
  • 33. What for?
  • 34.
  • 35. Why now?
  • 36. Who says?
  • 37. More writing tips
    Be donor-centric.
    Tell a story about one person or animal.
    Be brief!
    Write to one person.
    Use the active vs. passive voice.
    Edit, edit and edit some more.
    Use images in addition to text.
  • 38. 3. Build a great email list
  • 39. 6 Ways to grow your email list
    Collect email addresses on your website.
    Leverage offline communications and events.
    Engage in online advocacy.
    Get found in Search.
    “Flip the Funnel.”
    Engage in list swaps or chaperoned emails.
  • 40. 1. Collect email addresses on your website
  • 41. 2. Leverage offline communications
    • E-mail ask on a direct mail reply or insert
    • 42. Separate mailing – postcard or PURL mailings
  • and events!
  • 43. 3. Engage in online advocacy
  • 44. Engage in online advocacy
  • 45. 4. Get found in Search
    Paid Ads
    Organic Results
  • 46. 5. Do a list swap or chaperoned email
  • 47. 6. Flip the Funnel*
    *This is a term coined by Seth Godin.
  • 48. Get your best donors to fundraise for you!
  • 49. You still need to capture email addresses
  • 50. 4. Say thank you!
  • 51. So what and who cares?
  • 52. 4 components of a good thank you
    Be personal.
    Be tangible.
    Be emotional.
    Make it about them, not you!
  • 53. 1. Be personal
  • 54. Be personal
    Send a handwritten note (if possible).
    Pick up the phone.
    Send a thank you from your Executive Director or a board member.
    Customize, customize, customize!
  • 55. 2. Be tangible.
  • 56. Be tangible
    Show your donors what you’re doing with their investments.
    Tell ONE specific story of how your donor’s gift is making a difference.
    Invite your donor to tour your facility and meet the people your serve.
  • 57. 3. Be creative
    Gratitude tag by eekim
  • 58. Be creative.
    Use beautiful stationary.
    Send an e-card.
    Write in your own hand.
    Send a photo or video of your work.
    Let your volunteers, service recipients, other donors speak for you.
  • 59. 4. Make it about them, not you!
  • 60. Make it about them, not you!
    Don’t be a Nonprofit Narcissist!
    Make your donors the subject of your communications.
    List THEIR accomplishments.
    Make them feel proud and part of something bigger.
  • 61. Learn from the best
  • 62. Learn from the best
    Saving Shelter Pets would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to each and every one of you who donated and helped us to spread the word about our participation in the contest. We have made some new friends through this experience, and reconnected with some old ones too – and for this we are truly grateful.
    $5,186 of the Six Degrees donations has already been used to save over 30 dogs & puppies from death row, including the ones pictured below.  [Adorable photos of dogs were included.]
  • 63. 5. Test and measure your results!
  • 64. Test drive your donation form
    Recruit unsuspecting subjects to test your donation process!
  • 65. Key metrics
    Email Metrics
    • Open rate
    • 66. Click-through rate
    • 67. Unsubscribe rate
    Website Metrics
  • Average emails and response rates
    • The average study participant sent 3.6 emails per subscriber per monthand sent 6 emails per subscriber in December.
    • 72. Email fundraising response rates were 08%.
    Source: 2011 e-Nonprofit Benchmark Study
  • 73. Email rates by message types
    Source: 2011 e-Nonprofit Benchmark Study
  • 74. 6. What about social media?
    Social media are not a panacea and Facebook is not FREE!
  • 75. What about social media
    Master the basics first!
    Determine the “ROI” of your social media efforts. Hint: Think engagement vs. solicitation.
    Remember to get people onto your own email list.
  • 76. Resources for you
    Online Giving Study – Network for Good
    2010 Online Giving Report – Blackbaud
    2011 donorCentrics Internet & Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report - Blackbaud
    2011 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study – NTEN and M+R Strategic Services - by Me! - Katya Andresen
    Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability – Steve Krug
    Flipping the Funnel – Seth Godin
  • 77. Connect with me!