Essential Guide to Growing Your Online Support


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Nonprofits organizers know the key to success is a strong base of support. Supporters are the people who will open your emails, make donations, take action on your behalf and even volunteer for your cause. But how do you establish that base online? And if you already have a loyal following, how do you reach out to a new audience? This free ebook answers these questions and more, from locating potential supporters to crafting the right messages and even optimizing your digital strategy to attract attention.

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Essential Guide to Growing Your Online Support

  1. 1. These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  2. 2. The Essential Guide toGrowing Your OnlineSupport for NonprofitsBy Kristin DeMint and Beth JohnsonThese materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  3. 3. The Essential Guide to Growing Your Online Support for NonprofitsPublished byJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc.111 River StreetHoboken, NJ 07030-5774Copyright © 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New JerseyPublished by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New JerseyNo part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or trans-mitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording,scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the Publisher.Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the PermissionsDepartment, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201) 748-6011, fax (201) 748-6008, or online at Wiley, the Wiley logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Referencefor the Rest of Us!, The Dummies Way, Dummies Daily, The Fun and Easy Way,, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks ofJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and other countries,and may not be used without written permission. Salsa Labs and the Salsa Labs logoare registered trademarks of Salsa Labs. All other trademarks are the property of theirrespective owners. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is not associated with any product orvendor mentioned in this book.LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKENO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COM-PLETENESS OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS WORK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ALL WAR-RANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULARPURPOSE. NO WARRANTY MAY BE CREATED OR EXTENDED BY SALES OR PROMOTIONALMATERIALS. THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIES CONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLEFOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PUB-LISHER IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFES-SIONAL SERVICES. IF PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF ACOMPETENT PROFESSIONAL PERSON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. NEITHER THE PUBLISHERNOR THE AUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THATAN ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK AS A CITATION AND/ORA POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE AUTHOROR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSES THE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE MAYPROVIDE OR RECOMMENDATIONS IT MAY MAKE. FURTHER, READERS SHOULD BE AWARETHAT INTERNET WEBSITES LISTED IN THIS WORK MAY HAVE CHANGED OR DISAPPEAREDBETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK WAS WRITTEN AND WHEN IT IS READ.ISBN: 978-1-118-70521-6 (pbk)ISBN: 978-1-118-70752-4 (ebk)Manufactured in the United States of America10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1Publisher’s AcknowledgmentsSome of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:Project Editor: Carrie A. BurchfieldEditorial Manager: Rev MengleBusiness Development Representative: Melody LayneCustom Publishing Project Specialist: Michael SullivanSenior Project Coordinator: Kristie ReesThese materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  4. 4. 1 FindingSupporters andCatching TheirAttentionNew supporters are a key to the survival of anyorganization — new donors, advocates, volun-teers, and members are all vital to helping anorganization thrive. Recurring donations generally onlyaccount for a fraction of money raised from donors, sonew supporters are especially key to development.Through online engagement, nonprofits can connect with donors andsupporters by using timely, impactful messages and active, grassrootsparticipation opportunities like never before. Consider that an 18-year-old American can barely remember a world without the Web andFacebook. With the explosion of social media reaching acrossgenerations and the availability of online metrics and segmenting,there’s no time like the present to grow an online supporter base. Thischapter helps you get started.Establishing a Presence OnlineThe advantages of moving your offline supporter files into an integratedonline database are numerous. Instead of one-way communication,These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  5. 5. chapter1 • FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention2you’ve opened an interactive dialogue — or at least the potential for one.If a hot-button issue occurs for your organization, you can communicatewith your supporters immediately, avoiding the unbudgeted cost anddelay of a direct-mail piece. Increasingly, video, GIFs and photos candeliver a dynamic message of an organization’s purpose or need withpotent impact unmatched by a one-dimensional brochure or letter.Top ten strategiesto grow your list 1. Social media: Put social sharing on every web page and in everye-mail. Make sure the landing page has a place to sign up for e-mail. 2. Social media ambassadors: Recruit staff members and supporterswho already use social media to be ambassadors. Give themsuggested posts with a tagged URL for tracking. 3. Tell-a-friend pages: Every sign-up page should include anopportunity for supporters to input friends’ e-mail addresses for apre-written message (that they may edit). 4. Timed reminders: Two days after someone completes a donation,send them an e-mail thanking them again for their donation andurging them to ask friends to donate, too. 5. More sign-up pages: Make sure every page of your site has someway to sign up, even if it is just to receive a newsletter. You can turnthem into a donor later. 6. Peer-to-peer fundraising: Empower your donors to host their ownfundraising or distributed event pages. 7. Get your offline supporters online. Reach out to supporters in yourprint and direct mail materials encouraging them to sign up for youre-mails or join the conversation on your social media outlets. 8. Lead generation organization: Groups such as Care2 and find people to opt-in to your advocacy campaigns. 9. Leverage chapters and affiliates: Organizations that allow theirchapters or affiliates to manage their own lists often see dramaticlist growth. 10. Build a coalition of giving: Partner with organizations similar toyours to send your appeal to their lists in trade for a chance to sendto yours. Remember: Don’t swap lists (that goes against all opt-inbest practices).These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  6. 6. FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention • chapter13The first step to growing your supporter base, then, is to look at youronline presence as a whole. Is your website up to date? Are you gettinggood traffic and producing good online content? If you aren’t, startthere (Chapters 2 and 3 provide tips on creating solid content). If youare, it’s probably time to turn your focus to your social media outlets.Using social media effectivelyE-mail and direct mail are staples of supporter outreach; however,generally with those tools you are only reaching people you alreadyknow. So how do you reach new audiences and add new people to yoursupporter list? Create a presence in the major social media outlets (thinkFacebook,Twitter, Pinterest,YouTube, and LinkedIn), where you canengage your supporters and encourage them to truly connect with you.While it’s important to use as many channels as possible to reach yoursupporters, it’s best to focus your energies where they have the mostreach, so figure out who you want to reach and where they are. Globalsocial-media and fundraising consultant Ephraim Gopin says, “It’s bestto start with two platforms or three platforms, get comfortable, engage,and as time goes on add new outlets that suit your organization’s social-media needs.”The top five types of socialmedia posts that engageFunny/entertaining: Don’t underestimate people’s desire to just have funsometimes.Touching: Tell a story or anecdote that stirs an emotion.Educational: Teach about your industry or cause.Polling: Ask a question to find out more about your community.Controversial: Get people thinking about a recent event, ruling, or othertopic.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  7. 7. chapter1 • FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention4To make the most of social media, follow these general principles: • Use social media to build relationships, not as a fundraisingtool. These channels are excellent places to engage your commu-nity by sharing your story, the results of the donations you’ve col-lected, and much more through photos, posts, and other forms ofcontent (see Chapter 3 for more on content marketing). • Look for and create influencers. These people believe in yourorganization and use social media to spread the word of their con-victions to other friends. We recommend e-mailing your list andasking them to become Facebook fans/Twitter followers — it’s agreat free way to bump up your social network fan base in a hurry.After they’re your fans, encourage them to help you spread theword about your latest campaigns, advocacy efforts, and so on. Make the influencers your social media ambassadors, and rewardthem for their efforts regularly. Recognize them in social mediacommunications, invite them to contribute blog articles or photos,make them special guests at events (where they may even takephotos and tweet about your event), and show your gratitude theold-fashioned way with a thank-you message. • Build your network of organization-friends. If social media is allabout forming connections and building relationships, then youcould have a lot of success by extending that beyond just yoursupporters. Find like-minded organizations to connect to on yoursocial-media channels and see whether they’ll do the same. Youcan share each other’s social-media posts with your respectiveaudiences when appropriate. It increases both the content youhave to share as well as your social-media reach. • Make your supporters aware of social media in your e-mailsand on each web page. Make sure your presence is active andcurrent and that your pages have visible call-to-action links and“Donate Now” apps or icons. • Use social media to complement your existing campaigns, nothost a brand new one. Spread excitement about an upcomingeffort, or drive traffic to your website by sharing your activitieswith your fans and asking them to share with others.For more details about maximizing your use of Facebook, downloadthis free whitepaper, “The Real Value of a Facebook Friend,” at materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  8. 8. FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention • chapter15Other social-media channelsFacebook, Twitter, and YouTube are huge but may not be where yoursupporters hang out online. Here are some other social-media sites toconsider; talk to your loyal supporters and get suggestions from them, too! • Care2 • • Crowdsrise • • • Give2gether • Google+ • Instagram • Meetup • Pinterest • Tumblr • Upworthy • VimeoOptimizing your website toencourage e-mail sign-upsWhen your supporters land on your website, they need a compellingreason to hand over their e-mail address. Sometimes offering a freenewsletter just isn’t enough. Explain what information you’ll sendthem, and be sure you have a good content strategy in place before youdo anything. Then you’ll need to optimize your website to make sign-upa breeze! Here’s how: • Create a prominent “above-the-fold” e-mail sign-up button on yourwebsite home page. Visitors shouldn’t have to scroll or navigatearound to find it. • Make sure your e-mail sign-up box appears on every page ofyour site. • Use a sign-up incentive such as informative white papers, FAQs orcheat sheets or even a monthly drawing. • Whenever people donate or register for an event, tell them thatthey’ll automatically receive regular communications, like ane-mail newsletter, from you. Supporters are more likely to sign up for e-mails if they knowwhat content to expect. A simple way to do this is to segment youre-mails by giving supporters the options of receiving e-mails onlyon the topics they’re interested in.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  9. 9. chapter1 • FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention6CAN SPAM laws require you to have someone’s permission to collect and sendto his or her e-mail address, so be sure to develop and publish a clear onlineprivacy policy (a quick Google search offers templates that you can use).Easy web sign-ups helpedSafe Horizon grow base10 percent each yearFounded in 1978, Safe Horizon is the largest victim’s services agency inthe country, providing support and education, preventing violence andpromoting justice for victims of crime and abuse as well as its familiesand communities, serving approximately 250,000 children and adultsaffected by violence. With 57 locations in New York, and a wide partnerprogram with government and community organizations nationwide,Safe Horizon is able to make a strong impact on those who need supportduring the most challenging moments of their lives.Although Safe Horizon has been working diligently to serve victims ofviolence and their families, in 2009 it needed to engage its supporternetwork and further develop both its fundraising and advocacy efforts toprovide back-end support for its vital services. That’s where Paulette Hodge,Safe Horizon’s director of online and direct mail marketing came in, with thegoal of initiating donor and supporter growth for the organization.At the time, Safe Horizon was also largely focusing its outreach effortson direct mail, underutilizing its web presence for both fundraising andadvocacy efforts, and attracting new supporters. To accomplish her goals,Hodge started behind the scenes looking for a cost-effective supportermanagement platform that would support both basic functionalityand allow her to expand and experiment in areas of fundraising andsupporter outreach that Safe Horizon had yet to explore.With the new Salsa Enterprise platform in place (in about two weeks!),Hodge was able to expand her online fundraising efforts, whichresulted in a nearly 65 percent increase in fundraising in less than twoyears. Beyond fundraising, the platform provided Safe Horizon simpleopportunities to grow its supporter base and advocacy efforts. Its oncestagnant supporter list has grown, completely organically, by 10 percentper year since implementing Salsa, made especially easy as new websitevisitors could quickly sign up to receive information and share theircontact details. Even more powerful for the organization has been theincrease in supporter actions on advocacy campaigns.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  10. 10. FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention • chapter17To grow an online base, you must constantly seek and invite supportersto join your online list.You can easily start by asking for e-mail addresseson every piece of paper communication you currently use from pledgecards to newsletters. Every page of your website should offer an easyoption to sign up and share with others. Don’t forget to solicit e-mailsduring meetings, events, presentations, and so on as well — ask forbusiness cards, create a sign-in sheet, and ask for e-mail addresses atevent registration desks. Also remember to ask for e-mail addresses inyour direct mail appeals.Sending productive e-mailsDon’t forget to use your e-mail communications to drive, nurture, andgrow your list: • Send new subscribers a welcome e-mail that introduces yourorganization and your cause and tells them how they can getinvolved. • Add social sharing features and “forward to a friend” options sosupporters can share your e-mails with friends. • Use analytics and A/B testing to see what e-mail content isworking and what isn’t. Are folks unsubscribing? What are theyresponding to? • Be sure to communicate with your subscribers regularly — twice amonth ideally, once a month at a minimum. This keeps your listactive, engaged, and more likely to grow and support your goals.Targeting Your MessagingTo retain your supporter list and to harness their grassroots ability toforward and share, your content needs to be compelling — this is thehard part. In messages and social media, your information needs to becreative, useful, and impactful. The content should be relevant to therecipient and not just to the organization.If your organization covers more than one aspect of a broad topic, it’simportant to understand the interests of your subscribers. If someonesigns up to be a volunteer tutor of a literacy program, they want to knowteaching tips, event dates, and successes but may not be interested inpolitical action or the book-buying program.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  11. 11. chapter1 • FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention8Online databases provide a wealth of segmentation information,allowing you to separate by gender, geography, key words, and muchmore. Social media giants can provide detailed metrics that give youvery specific targets and intel on who’s interested in you and who elsemight be. Companies such as can analyze how your currentdatabase of supporters uses social media and what they’re talkingabout. With all the options for collecting data, you can target newsupporter acquisition efforts with precision.Posting-just-to-post isn’t furthering your connection and may actuallyturn off subscribers. For example, opening a Twitter account doesn’tmean you need to tweet 20 times a day. Consistency is important, andstaying fresh is crucial, but saying something worthwhile is even morevaluable. Brevity is also appreciated in e-mail and social media. PDFs,videos, images, and testimonials are all optional add-ons that can tellyour story for those who are genuinely interested. Chapters 2 and 3 helpyou tell compelling stories and often myriad means of distributing thosestories.Allowing Supporters to Opt-InA successful online program requires a quality subscriber list. Anorganically grown contact list where the individuals have “opted in”represents an immediate audience who chooses to associate with yourTargeted messaging catapultsReform Immigration forAmerica’s list growthWhen the Campaign to Reform Immigration For America (RI4A) was bornon June 1, 2008, the organization didn’t have a single name on its list ofsupporters’ e-mails. Within a month of using online fundraising, advocacycommunications, and supporter management platform, it grew its listto 35,000, and RI4A now boasts an additional 47,000 contacts on itscellphone action network. Today, The Campaign to Reform ImmigrationFor America is a powerful force for Immigration reform nationwide.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  12. 12. FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention • chapter19cause or purpose. Collecting your own contacts who’ve elected to opt-inmay take effort, but the organic list performs far better than purchasedor rented lists and keeps you from being blacklisted as a spammer(which keeps your communications from getting to even your mostardent supporters). A clean, voluntary list drives results and safeguardsyour reputation.In the e-mail world, it’s detrimental to be labeled a spammer, a designa-tion with potentially drastic consequences. Offering supporters opportu-nities to reinforce their voluntary participation or to unsubscribe is vitallyimportant. To ensure that you focus resources on truly interested pros-pects, offer a double-opt-in, where a verification message allows peopleto validate their interest again in receiving your communications.Offer many different ways for supporters to opt-in. Surveys, petitions,contests, coupons, giveaways, newsletters, and quizzes that lead to anopt-in page are all ways to gain e-mail addresses and move the followerfurther along the continuum of communication, so be creative withyour means of allowing readers to opt-in. These simple yet effectivevehicles for opt-in sign-ups, particularly online petitions, are oftenoverlooked to the detriment of the nonprofits. (For more on creatingonline petitions, check out Salsa’s book The Essential Guide to OnlineAdvocacy for Nonprofits.)Contractual and legal issues surround the methods you use to obtainyour supporter lists, so it’s best to be educated about what’s okay andwhat isn’t. If you decide to swap lists with a similar organization, makesure you do so with full disclosure to supporters and give informedconsent to all involved supporters. In short, be respectful of potentialsupporters. Not only do you maintain goodwill in the Internet commu-nity, but also you ensure that your list contains people who are actuallyinterested in your work, and you avoid a mess of problems in theprocess. Also, as you plan and schedule your outreach strategy to newsupporters, ask yourself what expectations the subscriber has. Forinstance, if she signed up for an e-newsletter, avoid bombarding herwith more fundraising requests than substantive updates.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  13. 13. chapter1 • FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention10Getting Supporters toSpread the WordAccording to a 2012 Pew Internet and American Life study, the averageFacebook user has 229 friends. Every time one of your supporters“likes” or “shares” one of your posts, the number of contacts quicklybecomes exponential. The same Pew study found that within twodegrees of separation (friends of friends), users can reach over 150,000additional Facebook members. Naturally, friends are more likely toread and show interest in a cause advocated by another friend. Evenif they have no personal connection to the cause — organ donation, forexample — their interest may be piqued because of the friend’sexperience.That viral power can be encouraged by knighting social ambassadorsamong your dedicated and tech/media-savvy supporters, volunteersand staff. Your current subscribers, in fact, can be your best leadgenerators. To harness this power, suggest and make it easy foryour supporters to tell a friend (or friends) about you: • Frequently give your supporters the option to input a friend’se-mail address with an accompanying personalized message ofinvitation. • Make it easy for them to post an invitation message on their socialnetwork with just a couple of clicks and pre-written material.Encourage them to be advocates of your cause through theirtweets, posts, and blogs. • You can also empower some donors to host their own fundraisingor event pages on behalf of your organization, especially if youhave an online fundraising platform with the tools to make it easyfor both you and the donor.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  14. 14. FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention • chapter111KaBOOM! grows its donor basePlay has been proven to help children develop physically, socially, andcognitively, yet only 20 percent of children live within walking distance ofa park or playground. To fight this play deficit, KaBOOM! was foundedin 1996 with a vision of creating a great place to play within walkingdistance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mappedover 89,000 places to play, built more than 2,100 playgrounds, andsuccessfully advocated for play policies in cities across the country.With a goal of ensuring that every child in the U.S. has an engaging place toplay, KaBOOM! sought a solution that would enable it to exponentially growits supporter base and turn those one-time donors into lifelong supportersempower communities to build their own playgrounds. By using social mediaand an online donor management system, KaBOOM! found that solution.In December 2011, KaBOOM! Partnered with Groupon Grassroots, thephilanthropic arm of the popular buying site, Groupon, to raise funds andawareness about the nonprofit’s efforts. Similar to a standard Groupondeal, donors could make a $20 or $50 gift to KaBOOM! by contributingat the discounted price of $10 or $25. By partnering with Groupon,KaBOOM! could potentially reach any Groupon customer visiting thatsite in search of a local deal, significantly expanding its reach.Groupon Grassroots provided KaBOOM! with a simple call-to-action —have supporters invite five to ten of their friends to participate in thecampaign. Then, when a Groupon customer stumbles on the campaign,she’s excited to support it because 200 people are already backing it.To quickly and easily reach existing supporters with the message,KaBOOM! used the communication and supporter management tools inSalsa. The group sent customized and consistently branded e-mails, builttargeted lists, and tracked performance. Then for everyone who “bought”the Groupon, it created a redemption offer web form and put the link to itin the “thank you” e-mail from Groupon. The link web form asked visitorsto input their contact information and suggest a location for the nextplayground. When KaBOOM! captured the data, it was coded in the Salsaonline donor database as a Groupon contact. That segmentation allowedKaBOOM! to follow up and track long-term results from the campaign.Following the close of the Groupon campaign, KaBOOM! achieved animpressive 40 percent response rate from donors, as well as raised fundsfrom both existing supporters and engaged hundreds of new donors.KaBOOM!’s true success wasn’t just in fundraising, but in its ability tocapture donor data and create relationships with its new support base.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  15. 15. chapter1 • FindingSupportersandCatchingTheirAttention12Online advocacy helpedEFF and ECA preserveInternet freedomsOn January 18, 2012, organized protests occurred against two bills inthe United States Congress: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and theProtect IP Act (PIPA). Protesters were concerned these bills containedmeasures that could impede online freedom of speech, hamper Internetinnovation, and invite Internet security risks. Opposition also arguedthat there were no safeguards in place to protect sites based on user-generated content. Media coverage of the bill was minimal. Proponents,including the entertainment industry, wanted this legislation to passquietly without opposition.The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the EntertainmentConsumers Association (ECA), therefore, needed to increase thevisibility of the proposed legislation and get their message more broadlydistributed to create enough public pressure to stop the anti-piracy billsin Congress.Using EFF’s online petition built with online advocacy software,supporters who chose to fight the SOPA and PIPA bills needed only theiraddresses to send off advocacy messages matched to their appropriatedistricts or to a custom target. Using just their addresses, they couldsend messages directly to the appropriate national and state legislators.Bill co-sponsors could be told, “The SOPA bill is ineffective and here’swhy.” The majority of targets were sent a message stating, “You havethe power to stop this vote; call your local senator.” and the appropriatephone number is listed.Over the course of this campaign, EFF collected more than 400,000names, approximately doubling its contact database as a direct resultof the campaign. As a direct result of the efforts of EFF, ECA, and otheronline sites, the legislation was pulled in the House and Senate and won’tcome back up until there’s consensus. And EFF now has a databaseof people they can reach out to for support if and when these billsresurface.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  16. 16. 2 EngagingSupporters withStorytellingIf your nonprofit is like most, you assume that thepublic shares your passion for your cause, so youspend a lot of time and resources trying to persuadepotential supporters with facts and research reports.Think for a minute, though, about how that’s workingfor you — are you getting the kind of interest you wantand think you can garner? (Because you’re reading thisbook, we’ll go ahead and guess no.)While arming your supporters with important facts is certainly useful, youalso must share powerful stories that inspire them to get involved — oreven more involved — in your movement and cause. In this chapter, weexplain why creating a compelling narrative is vital and provide somesuggestions to help you do that (as well as a few stellar examples ofinspiring stories from successful nonprofits).The Importance of StorytellingAmanda Foster, who helps hundreds of nonprofits build support onlinethrough her work at Salsa, is adamant in suggesting that whetheryou’re trying to maintain interest in your cause between fundraisingpushes or you’re just building your following, it all comes down toThese materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  17. 17. chapter2 • EngagingSupporterswithStorytelling14engagement. Engagement is not talking at someone. It’s not aboutjumping in front of people and shouting in their faces, and thenrunning away.Engagement is what happens when you evoke within your audience anemotional connection — a real surge of energy that makes them feelalive and connected to others to the world. If you want their support,you have to make them feel what it is you’re trying to communicate andinternalize it, and that isn’t an easy feat. Why? Because not everyone isemotionally moved by the same things, to the same degree of urgency.And if you want to get people to do something, you have to show themwhat’s in it for them — even if that something is a happy feeling. Andyou have to light a fire under their rears if you want it to happen anytimesoon.Think, for example, about advertising. Consider a few memorablecommercials, print ads, or billboards — what is it about them thatcauses them to linger in your mind? What beliefs, desires, or values arethey tapping into? And how are they creating urgency within theviewer? When you look around, the most prominent, most effectivemarketing efforts are those that appeal to their audience’s emotions. Byand large, humans are influenced by emotion, whether they like toadmit it.That’s the sort of thinking you need to do when planning to share yournonprofit’s story (or stories). What beliefs, desires, or values do youwant to touch when people hear or read your story? And what sorts ofideas, people, places, situations, and so on may touch those sensitiveplaces most deeply, most powerfully? Find your way to those placeswithin potential supporters’ psyches, and you’re far more likely toincite a reaction than you would by spouting off facts and figures. Youalso limit any opposition you may encounter; facts can always becountered with the opposition’s arguments, but if you focus on tellingmore stories, it becomes a lot more challenging for the opposition tocounter the emotional effects of these stories.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  18. 18. EngagingSupporterswithStorytelling • chapter215Telling Effective StoriesGenerally speaking, the stories you tell comprise many little storiesthat — if someone read them all — would add up to one big one story:the story and mission of your nonprofit.The little stories can focus on a variety of topics and can serve multiplepurposes. Perhaps they provide useful and helpful information thathelps people in their daily lives. Perhaps they tell supporters moreabout the history of the community in which they live. Or perhaps theyentertain supporters with funny stories about the hijinks that happenbehind the scenes of whatever events you’re putting on. These littlevignettes spread through social media help build the larger story of theimpact your nonprofit has.Storytelling makes ProtectOur Defenders 20,000 strongFor generations, young service men and women have traveled todangerous parts of the world to protect our freedom. In this midst oftheir self-sacrifice, more than 500,000 of our veterans became survivorsof mostly unpunished sexual violence; today, 30 percent of active womenin the military are sexually assaulted. Protect Our Defenders founderNancy Parrish, says Americans and individuals owe them, especially thosethat have been victimized by their own countrymen. But those factsweren’t enough to move people to affect change.Recognized nationally, Protect Our Defenders leads the effort to reformthe U.S. Military’s system for handling rape and sexual assault. In its firstyear, the nonprofit gained more than 20,000 supporters. How did theydo it? By using video testimonials that powerfully tell the emotionalstories of victims. Then, with the help of an online organizing platform,Protect Our Defenders grew from Parrish’s initial idea and a handful ofsupporters to a solid organization that’s positioned to drive a culturalchange in the way the military handles its sexual abuse claims. Theycontinue to further engage supporters with a website that providessurvivors a platform to share their stories, a support services network, aresource library, and a forum to connect with each other, all to find help.To see one of Protect Our Defenders’ inspirational videos, visit materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  19. 19. chapter2 • EngagingSupporterswithStorytelling16Whatever stories you tell, they need to be interesting, funny, inspira-tional, motivational, or touching. They also need to be humble (yoursupporters should be the heroes of your story, not your brand) and sin-cere (make sure that you’re practicing what you preach, and that you’redoing so transparently). And they should be balanced with the hard datathat gives credence to your nonprofit’s existence.Defining the moral of your storyBefore you can create an engaging story, you need to have a goal inmind. What’s the moral of your story? That is, what do you stand forthat you can teach your audience and that will resonate with them?What values do you hold? Every communication you put out should beillustrative of that moral of your story and of your brand, and yourstories should center on the shared values of your nonprofit andsupporters in order to form a connection between you.Identifying the protagonist(s)After you’ve decided which values you want to promote, think aboutthe protagonist of your nonprofit: Who’s the face of your organization’smission? What stories can he, she, it, or they tell? It’s about findingcharacters who encapsulate what your core objective is all about — andconveying their stories with power, genuineness, passion, and humility.People like to hear stories of unlikely heroes healing the world. Forexample, is your Executive Director a rebel providing innovativesolutions to change the world? Or, is there a specific, namedendangered animal fighting to survive with the help of yoursupporters?Determine what your gift to the world is, identify your hero(es) orheroine(s), and honor them. For example, the company Toms Shoesbuilt its socially conscious brand around the idea that with every pair ofshoes you purchase, it donates another pair of shoes to a child in need.Who are the unlikely heroes here? The consumers — with a little helpfrom their trusty sidekick Tom’s shoes.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  20. 20. EngagingSupporterswithStorytelling • chapter217Begin by making a list of characters who are important to your nonprofit.You may list staff members, volunteers, donors, the people you serve, orthe people or animals you’ve helped (but have since moved on to dogreat things). After you have a good-size list, decide which charactersmove you the most, and why. Think about who connects most directly tothe moral or value(s) that you most want to convey, and build your storyfrom there. Don’t throw out the list of candidates — it can serve you welllater on as you find other ways to share your story.Structuring the storyPart of a story’s power comes from the way it’s written. You can have anincredible story, but if you don’t tell it in a way that captivates youraudience, you probably aren’t much better off than without it. So askyourself, “How can I grab my audience’s attention? What kind of peopleare they, and what will spark their interest or emotions?” Quotes andfacts are usually good attention-getters, but feel free to consider otheroptions.As soon as you’ve grabbed hold of your audience’s interest, start tounfold the story by providing details and by logically drawing the readerthrough the action. Remember, your audience may or may not befamiliar with all the background, jargon or other elements, so even ifyou know what you’re trying to say, explain things clearly so the readerwith the least amount of knowledge about the subject can follow along.The structure of the narrative is also important, so make sure you’recontinually considering your audience’s interests and catering to themwhile remaining focused on the story’s central point.The key element in any nonprofit’s storytelling is to end with an action.After you’ve told your story and have pulled on the reader’s heartstrings,now’s the time to make an ask. Whether it’s requesting a donation,encouraging the audience to sign a petition, or even offering a volun-teer opportunity, here’s your chance to turn your reader into your sup-porter. Oh yeah, and don’t be afraid to make a big ask. If supporters areacting on their emotions, now is a good time to tell them how to makethe biggest possible impact.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  21. 21. chapter2 • EngagingSupporterswithStorytelling18A 30-second shocker worksfor The Animal LegalDefense FundFor most Americans, their beloved pet is treated as a highly respectedmember of the family. But in the eyes of the United States legal system,animals are technically viewed as property — with the same rights andprotections as a household chair. The mission of Animal Legal DefenseFund (ALDF) is to change all that, seeking a re-categorization of the waythe law regards animals, providing for their interests, ensuring their safety,and allowing them to engage in behaviors that are natural for their species.In 2011-2012, the corporate agriculture industry launched a concertedeffort to introduce legislation, nicknamed “ag gag” laws, in numerousstates that would make it illegal to take photographs or video atagricultural facilities, as well as to possess and distribute such material.While these laws claim to protect the interests of factory farms, theyalso serve to quiet potential whistleblowers and limit access to evidenceof farmed animal abuses, illegal working conditions, and risky foodpractices. Ag gag laws present a problem for consumers who want anddeserve to know the origin of their food.With the potential to mobilize thousands of supporters, ALDF neededto find a way to unite a broad spectrum of ag gag opponents under onevoice, speaking out against the legislation and offering state lawmakersan alternative that would benefit both the residents of the state andits bottom line. The ALDF then proposed the Protect Your Food Act, amodel law that if adapted would enable states to take a stand againstgag restrictions. The resulting campaign was a combination of action andeducation.ALDF partnered with See3 Communications to create a 30-second videodesigned to hook viewers with an edgy introduction and allow them toclick directly through to a sign-the-petition landing page (check it out onYouTube; it’s called “What’s in the Fridge?”). The video was distributedthrough paid advertising on YouTube, running as the ad prior to theshowing of premium video content. “The video campaign is really wherewe saw the brightest results,” said Nasser Asif, director of marketingat See3. “Sometimes you have to shock the audience a little to remindthem of the issue at hand and create the desired emotional response.That’s what we were able to do here. We reminded them that they had away to fight back against an unethical, unsafe system that leads from thefactory farm to their dinner table.”These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  22. 22. EngagingSupporterswithStorytelling • chapter219Choosing your mediumAfter you have a general idea of the story you’re going to tell, you get tothe fun part: deciding how you’ll share it.You can tell your story throughphotos, video, or just straight-up text, though visual storytelling isparticularly effective (and easy to create and disseminate given thenumber, affordability, and accessibility of media-making tools nowadays).You don’t have to conquer Rome in one day. Neither do you need a bigmotion picture budget to tell your visual story. You may simply committo taking one photo a day that demonstrates your hero(es) or heroine(s)at work. Or, maybe you just follow one individual in your program for 30days. You may post one pic each day to Facebook or Pinterest with acaption. Then, the photos may be compiled into a slide presentation,which may then be recorded with an audio overlay telling the story. Juststart with a plan and then give a little each day to pull it together. Ittakes time, but it can still have a big impact.Video is one of the most effective means of storytelling and is a must-have for nonprofit organizations trying to ignite action. Remember,though, it doesn’t really matter how fancy your message is. Some areelaborate productions, with narration, titling, and musical score allworking together. Others are as simple as holding up a video-capablesmartphone to capture a moment. Both are effective, depending onyour audience and purpose.An exemplar of effective video storytelling is Mark Horvath, project has involved a broad community inunderstanding the reality of what homelessness looks like andinspired the establishment of new programs and communitysolutions. Mark’s evident empathy and his matter-of-fact attitudein his interviews with homeless individuals serves as an exampleof how one person can make a difference. The stories he shares growthe movement and give people courage not to be afraid of a situationthat often seems intractable.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  23. 23. chapter2 • EngagingSupporterswithStorytelling20Deciding on distribution channelsAfter you have a visual story (or several) that you can draw on, beginusing it in your public outreach: on your website or blog, on yourFacebook page, in your annual report, in your e-mail newsletters,wherever you can find a place for it.“Look at each platform and decide where you can best tell your organi-zational story,” advises global social-media and fundraising consultantEphraim Gopin. For instance, while provocative and compelling photosare great on any platform, Pinterest would be a better option for anorganization that has an abundance of such photos than one thatdoesn’t. If your mission is conducive to creating emotionally chargedvideos, YouTube is a good way to go. Facebook is good for slightly lon-ger posts; and if you prefer to craft richly detailed stories in print, blog-ging can provide a forum. Of course, Twitter can help you point to allthese features in 140-word quips.Polaris Project’s“friendraising” campaignThe decade-old Polaris Project, based in Washington, D.C., is one of theleading organizations in the global fight against human trafficking andmodern-day slavery. It runs the national, 24-hour hotline that receivesrequests for assistance and tips on human-trafficking situations acrossthe country; public outreach and communications to raise awareness andcreate social change at the grassroots level; policy advocacy; trainingand technical assistance to other organizations involved in anti-traffickingefforts; and a fellowship program to train future leaders in the effort.As with many nonprofits, much of Polaris Project’s fundraising workincludes a healthy dose of “friendraising.” Its recent peer-to-peercampaign proved to be a highly successful way to accomplish both.The campaign successfully leveraged emotion, e-mail, and socialnetworks.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  24. 24. EngagingSupporterswithStorytelling • chapter221The campaign consisted of three e-mails, written in the first person andsigned by Polaris Project’s director of client services, Dr. C. De Los Rios.E-mails went to the organization’s donor file as well as its file of grassrootssupporters. Ever careful not to overwhelm supporters, Polaris Projectremoved donors who’d given within a month of the campaign launch.The first e-mail served as the campaign launch message. It explainedthe goals, including the deadline and how the funds would be used. Italso offered a powerful story from a survivor of human trafficking whohad been helped by Polaris Project — a top fundraising strength for theorganization in terms of sharing its message. The e-mail described awoman who had been trapped in a residential brothel here in the U.S.where she was forced to provide commercial sex. It noted that when shewas eventually connected with Polaris Project, the organization was ableto “give her a safe place to sleep, a warm meal to eat, and emotionalsupport to help her start rebuilding her life.” The initial e-mail concludedwith two calls to action — either to donate online immediately, orspread the word and solicit family and friends by creating a peer-to-peerfundraising page.The second donor touch went out about two weeks later, at the mid-point of the campaign, in the form of the organization’s regular monthlye-newsletter. Those who had taken action after the first e-mail wereremoved from receiving subsequent communication. In addition to aprogress update and encouragement to help reach the Project’s goal, thenewsletter included a video link to another survivor story. Directly belowthe video was a bit of encouragement for supporters to sign up for theirown peer-to-peer campaign, along with an option to donate.The final e-mail was sent three days before the campaign conclusionand stressed the campaign’s current progress (halfway to the goal)and approaching deadline. The e-mail’s call-to-action was again a“friendraising” directive: reach out to at least five friends and ask themto donate.Through this outreach, Polaris Project exceeded its $10,000 goal bynearly $700. The head of the campaign attributed the basis of theorganization’s awareness and fundraising successes to its compellingstories of life as a modern-day slave and the abundant impact theorganization can have on survivors.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  25. 25. chapter2 • EngagingSupporterswithStorytelling22Helpful storytelling toolsMany applications are available to help you tell stories with the power ofvideo, maps, and more. Here are five that are highly recommended: • Historypin is a new (and free) application for Android, iPhone, orthe Web that arranges photos, videos, and text in the context oftime and location (leveraging the Google Maps API). • Animoto isn’t a new tool but is nevertheless terrific. With Animoto,you can put together photos, slides, and text with audio and videoto create a compelling story from all the various elements you mayhave created separately or gathered at an event. Bonus: nonprofitscan apply to get Animoto Pro for free (head to! • Posterous is a blogging tool that is really so much more. As withtraditional blogs, you can have a site that shares your posts withthe world. You can also create groups to share privately across ateam, and organization, or a network. Plus, you can add authors toa blog so you are the only one responsible for posting. The bestpart is that you can post in a manner of ways: from the platform,from your e-mail, from your phone, and so on. • Storify allows you to search across multiple social platforms andpull together the content that’s of interest, as well as add additionaltext, to create a story (whether a recap of an event or a chat, orhighlights from the news) that’s shareable and includes voices fromacross the community. You can also use it to pull together contentyou and your organization have shared across the Web to tell thestory of your work. You need a Twitter account to use it. • Instagram allows you to take photos, apply filters, and share allfrom your phone. Also try using complimentary tools like Tweegramto add Twitter text to your Instagram timeline.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  26. 26. 3 Placing Contentin MultipleFormats andChannelsIf you aren’t doing content marketing, or aren’t focus-ing heavily on it, you should be.The reason is simpleand straightforward: Content marketing is about pro-viding valuable information or entertainment, and atthe end of the day, all nonprofits are providing valuableinformation to their supporters, to society, about how tomake the world a better place. In simplest terms, youprovide value in exchange for opt-ins. How you providethis information differs; you may do it in an entertain-ing way, through news, videos, whitepapers, eBooks,infographics, blog articles, photos, memes, cartoons . . .the list goes on and on. Educating the public about whatit is that you’re doing is content marketing in someshape or form — so you should be doing it strategically.This chapter shows you how.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  27. 27. chapter3 • PlacingContentinMultipleFormatsandChannels24The Value of ContentMarketingContent marketing is valuable for three major reasons: • It fosters organic list growth. Nonprofits are always looking fornew supporters, and of course there are non-organic ways todo that. But organic growth allows a few different ways to drawpeople in: • Opt-in: Instead of trying to force people immediately into adonation page or to sign a petition, have supporters opt-in toget the content that you’re offering, and you can move themalong the ladder of engagement to become donors or petitionsigners at a later date. • Search engine optimization (SEO): The better and fresherthe content, the more related it is to your subject, and themore of it you put on the Web, the more your search enginerankings can go up — and the greater your chances ofbecoming an authority on your subject. • Viral opportunity: Content marketing has more opportunityto go viral than any other type of marketing that you do. • It gives you an opportunity to educate supporters. All nonprofitswant to change minds and deepen the buy-in into their causes.And as you achieve that goal, you also want to educate peopleon what actions they should be taking and motivate themto action. Finally, you want them to associate you with yourcause synonymously, so branding is another piece of contentmarketing. • It provides value. Nonprofits provide value to others through ser-vices, lobbying, and yes, even the content you create. Contentmarketing also provides value to the nonprofit through educationor information, and it can lower supporter acquisition costs. It’s alot less expensive to bring a supporter on board through contentmarketing than it is to host a big fundraising event.In short, content marketing makes this a give-and-take relationshipwith your supporters — a win-win for all.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  28. 28. PlacingContentinMultipleFormatsandChannels • chapter325Considering Your MyriadOptions for ContentThe content that you create can take any number of forms, whethertext- or image-based. Text is certainly valuable for information deliveryand SEO (see Chapter 4), but image-based content enables you to tellpowerful stories in ways that words can’t. Your best bet is to have amixture of both in many different forms.VideosVideos are one of the best means of raising visibility. In today’s digitalworld, an organization’s videos have great potential to be shared byothers, thereby reaching a wider audience outside of its own supportersand even establishing the organization as a subject matter expert. Awell-produced video also includes links back to the organization’swebsite or social media pages. This scenario is especially useful forsmaller nonprofits because it enables them to reach a potentially largeraudience. The video doesn’t have to be long — it can be as little as twominutes on a focused subject and still be valuable to supporters.Increasing FacebookfunctionalityNot long ago, if you had asked the smartest people in the nonprofitsector if you could access the e-mail addresses of your own Facebookfans, give fans actions that are more engaging than Like, Share, orComment, or give action takers a one-click way to take action on yourbehalf on their mobile phone and have it automatically shared with theirFacebook friends, they would have simply said, “No! Sorry . . . Facebookjust won’t allow it.” But in recent history, organizations began runningcampaigns that do these very things by employing special apps.When a Facebook user takes an action through one of these apps,the organization gets the person’s name, e-mail address, any socialconnection with other action takers, and whether the person is a Fanof its page. Some of these apps are also mobile friendly, making theone-click “Sign Socially” button a great option for anyone visiting yourpetitions via mobile devices.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  29. 29. chapter3 • PlacingContentinMultipleFormatsandChannels26BlogsBlogs provide a platform for you to communicate with your audienceabout a wide variety of topics, so search engines give them a lot ofweight if you refresh the content regularly. (This means that they helpmaximize your search engine optimization — see Chapter 4.) Blogarticles should be relatively short and conversational and should have aclearly identified author. As an organization, you can have a variety ofcontributors to your blog, including your staff and external experts whoare passionate and knowledgeable about your cause.Communicatingthrough videosBikes for the World, a nonprofit based in the Washington, D.C. area,collects unwanted bicycles and related material in the United States anddelivers it at low cost to community development programs, assisting thepoor in more than a dozen countries. What ultimately became Bikes forthe World began shipping its first container of bicycles to Ghana in 1997and continued to grow steadily, enlisting civic groups, jurisdictions andbicycle retailers to spearhead collection drives.Rapid growth, ability to scale, and the need to communicate effectivelybecame increasingly more complicated. “Bikes for the World maintains alistserv of more than 2,400 volunteers and donors who provide generousin-kind donations as well as other operational support,” said KeithOberg, director. “There is a lot going on, and how we communicate andbuild our support base is critical to our success.”Active on Facebook and YouTube, Bikes for the World is growing its fanbase by consistently communicating events and success stories. One typeof content they’ve found especially useful is video. “Our supporters aremore interested in seeing videos than just reading text on our website,”said Yvette Hess, outreach coordinator. “It’s very visual, and with socialmedia the way it is, it’s really easy for us to receive content from ourpartner organizations. Many of them are starting to use Facebook andYouTube, so we can access those videos, put them on our website, andincorporate them into our materials. The most effective use of thesevideos has been through the e-mail blasts we do.”Since 2005, Bikes for the World has delivered more than 72,000 bikes,including a record-setting 13,508 bikes in 2012 alone. And alreadyanother 1,529 have been delivered year to date in 2013.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  30. 30. PlacingContentinMultipleFormatsandChannels • chapter327White papersWhite papers allow you to share the depth of your knowledge, one specifictopic at a time, and you can position your organization as an expert andthought leader on a certain subject.They’re typically the more detailed,technical, or scientific approach to your topic, targeted at your die-hardsupporters who want to become subject matter experts.eBookseBooks give you room to give more examples and practical advice in aneasy-to-use format or allow you to cover a few related topics in in acentral place. eBooks work best when they cover a subject in a waythat’s easily consumed and understood by all supporters and potentialsupporters. That is, they should have mass appeal.InfographicsInfographics provide your supporters with an easy way to digestinformation. Think about the Food Pyramid and how it helps parentsfigure out how to serve a balanced diet to their kids.Online magazinesOnline magazines are a great way to combine your resources with others,creating a publication that’s regularly updated with articles you produceor ones you’ve gotten permission from others to publish. By includingthird-party content, you add credibility to your cause, because hey, you’renot the only one who’s writing about this issue. If you do it right, you cancreate a community around your online magazine that discusses thearticles you provide, perhaps even hosting a healthy debate aboutrelevant topics.Showing an Example ofExcellent Content MarketingA wonderful example of content marketing is Salsa’s client theEnvironmental Working Group (EWG). This section highlights EWG’suse of content marketing and multiple channels.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  31. 31. chapter3 • PlacingContentinMultipleFormatsandChannels28Using helpful information to gainvisibility and supportersThe EWG uses the power of public information to protect public healthand the environment. And through content marketing, it also gainsvisibility and supporters. Its focus is to protect the most vulnerablesegments of the human population — children, babies, and infants inthe womb — from health problems attributed to a wide array of toxiccontaminants. Specializing in providing useful resources to consumers,the EWG simultaneously pushes for national policy change.By regularly producing Consumer Guides (such as sunscreen guides andcancer-prevention tipsheets) that appeal to your day-to-day lives, EWGprovides the public with very useful information. In exchange for thatinfo, people give EWG their names and contact information andregularly visit the EWG website. And, just as importantly, EWGpublicizes its content through multiple social media and traditionalchannels in carefully planned campaigns.Because of its focus on really effective content produced in a varietyof readable and interesting formats, EWG hasn’t had to do muchtraditional campaigning for donations. The challenge the nonprofitfaces isn’t about getting people to care and visit its website; it’s aboutfiguring out how to convert the people who read the content to thosewho are willing to take action or make a donation.EWG effectively does this through web page design and opt-ins (topicswe cover more in Chapter 1). Visit EWG’s website to see examples ofhow it ties opt-ins like “Donate Now” and “Take Action” and “Sign Up”throughout the site.Reaching a 100-percent organicallyacquired baseEWG’s supporter base is 100 percent organically grown, meaning eachperson has opted in to the organization. It has a large list of 1.1 millionsupporters thanks in part to the strength of its operational teamsproviding relevant content and engaging web pages on high-trafficwebsites.EWG has never bought or traded a name, and it tries to really engageits supporters with information that they’re looking for. When thecompany knows it’s going to be a big media hit with a particular topicof interest, it uses a lot of flash pages on the website. EWG targets thosepages and makes them stand out — it’s a quantity driver.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  32. 32. PlacingContentinMultipleFormatsandChannels • chapter329Growing support throughquestionnairesCampaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) wanted to add newsupporters and generate enthusiasm for their campaign. By setting up asimple Salsa questionnaire, CCFC grew its supporter base by 2,000 names.Questionnaires let you ask questions of your supporters that they cananswer online. Like all Salsa forms, surveys and questionnaires createURLs that can be included in e-mail blasts, advocacy campaigns,or content pages. CCFC grew its list by including the link to itsquestionnaire in every piece of communications it sent out. CCFC wantedto draw attention to the toy industry’s role in commercializing childhood.In response to the Toy Industry Association of America’s TOTY (Toy of theYear) awards, in February 2009, CCFC launched the first annual TOADYAWARD (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children), askingpeople to vote for the worst toy of the year. CCFC asked folks to pickthe worst toy using a Salsa questionnaire and asked people to enter theire-mail address to enter a drawing for a DVD.Supporters and bloggers responded enthusiastically to the idea and beganspreading the word. The campaign quickly went viral and picked up 2,000new supporters along the way. Over 6,000 people voted in the contest. Byincluding a drawing for a DVD giveaway as incentive for people giving theire-mail addresses (who weren’t required to vote), CCFC greatly expandedits supporter contact list. The results of the contest received a significantamount of press and CCFC grew its list of supporters by 10 percent.Giving its base the tools to spread the word allowed CCFC to grow itslist tremendously and engage its supporters. Through actions like this,Commercial Free Childhood has been able to increase its base from 2,200 in2005 to over 30,000 supporters today — all with just three staff members!Strategizing Your ContentMarketingIf you’re a sucker for efficiency, the “how” of content marketing is reallygoing to make you smile: Reduce, reuse, recycle, and repeat. The beststrategy starts with the idea that you shouldn’t aim for quantity whenit comes to content marketing — you should aim for quality. Reduce theamount of time you spend creating new content. You don’t want torebuild a house to sell it to someone new; start by building a strong,well-crafted architecture, and then you just need to give it a fresh coatThese materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  33. 33. chapter3 • PlacingContentinMultipleFormatsandChannels30of paint to keep it marketable. The same policy applies to contentmarketing: you can update your information and publish it annuallyrather than build something new every single quarter.You can (and should) also stretch your content’s reach by reusing it.Thatis, take one piece of content to multiple channels.The Children’s RadioFoundation, for example, started by creating shareable Valentine’s Daye-cards and found a way to use the concept in multiple channels: TheyTweeted about the e-cards, linked them to the donation page, created alanding page with additional information about the foundation and theircause, wrote Facebook posts about the e-cards, and so on.Your goalshould be to reuse every single piece of content in multiple channels.Another way of stretching existing content is to recycle it, which cantake one of two shapes: • Start big and go small. Suppose you’ve created an ebook all abouta subject related to your nonprofit. That’s not the only form it hasto take. You can create a webinar about this ebook. You can thendo a whitepaper focusing deeply on one aspect or one chapter ofthe ebook. From there, you can distribute graphics from the ebookto Pinterest. You can record the ebook and make it an audio book.You can break the ebook into blog articles. It doesn’t stop there —you can slice all those parts further. • Start small and go big. Salsa, for example, followed this approachto help nonprofit organizations with fundraising. They created awhole series around planning an end-of-year fundraising cam-paign, starting with a blog article about how to best build a donorlist, and then creating a webinar. They found small things theycould do over time (lots of different blog articles, then a chart, thenan infographic, then whitepapers), and they collected these arti-facts over time. After they had a good collection, they created anebook. And, now that they have all that information, they onlyneed to update it to use it year-after-year.Remarkable marketing is worth repeating or telling to someone else. Thekey to human comprehension is repetition in more than one form, inmore than one place, over a period of time. And just when you think youhave said it enough, say it one more time for good measure. Be creative.Do something controversial or compelling. That, Reader, is stellar con-tent marketing. (For more ideas on creative storytelling, head back toChapter 2.)These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  34. 34. 4 Optimizing YourPresence withDigital StrategyPutting a digital marketing strategy into place foryour nonprofit sounds like an intimidating task —SEO, SMO, web ads, pay-per-click . . . what does itall mean? Add in the thought of tracking everything andperhaps you feel like putting it off for another day.The good news: If you put up quality content with your audience inmind, you’ve already taken the first big step. To put a digital strategyin place, you can follow some simple steps that, taken one at a time,really aren’t intimidating (trust me). Remember that it’s okay to startsmall — assess what platforms and technology makes sense for yourorganization to leverage, and start with those. (In this chapter, I giveyou some tips to get you started.)Perhaps the most important keys to success are being consistent andrealistic. Keep your message and your story consistent across all chan-nels, and don’t expect results overnight — they take some time anddiligence. It’s important to continually evaluate and alter your digitalstrategy based on the current trends and results you see.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  35. 35. chapter4 • OptimizingYourPresencewithDigitalStrategy32Advertising OnlineOne method of list growth that is gaining attention in the nonprofit worldis paid online advertising. For-profit companies have used paid onlineadvertising for years, but many nonprofits have ignored this means ofgrowing their supporter list because of the expense. But online advertisingcan be very affordable — even free until you get a benefit.Your basicoptions include the following:Pay-per-click adsPay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the simplest means of gettingyour nonprofit some exposure with no risk, because you don’t pay adime until someone actually clicks through your ad to your linkedcontent. The most popular places for purchasing PPC ads nowadays areon Facebook and Google: • Facebook ads: Facebook is one of the most affordable options fortargeted advertising. Ads are displayed on the right-hand side ofthe user’s newsfeed, and because users tell Facebook so muchabout their likes, demographics, and interests, you can target yourideal audience. • Google AdWords: Pay-per-click AdWords are the “Sponsored Links”that appear to the right of your main search results on GoogleSearch. You could receive a Google Grant (a grant of up to $10,000worth of advertising and access to its suite of business tools), soGoogle AdWords is worth considering. Take a look at Google’sGuide for Nonprofits, which offers a step-by-step plan for estab-lishing and executing your AdWords campaign. New OrganizingInstitute (NOI) also offers some tips on getting the most out ofyour Google Grant at adsOf course, one method of online advertising is completely traditionaland straightforward — you simply pay for an ad to be run onlinethrough a web publication. If you want to run an ad to get possiblesupporters or donors to your website, run the ad where your targetaudience can be found. For example, if your nonprofit saves animals,consider running ads on a pet adoption website. Or if your nonprofit ishealthcare-related, you might want to run ads on healthcarepublication websites.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  36. 36. OptimizingYourPresencewithDigitalStrategy • chapter433Web ads are particularly good for exposing a wide audience to your brandthat you may not otherwise reach. And even though the Internet is a vastspace, you can reach the specific, targeted audience that you’re trying toinfluence.They’re also easy to track and measure conversion — thepublications can tell you exactly how many people saw your ad and howmany clicked on it.Web ads also work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so youalways have the possibility of reaching people.However (and this is a big however), some cons exist with advertisingon the Web: • It can be expensive, depending on what publication you use. • While it may work for branding, it can be difficult to attract donorsand supporters. • Unless you have a really catchy ad, many people tend to ignoreads, so your click-through rate may not be what you hoped. • There’s an incredible amount of web ads out there, so yours maynot get noticed.Re-targetingRe-targeting, or re-marketing, is a type of online advertising whereadvertisers target consumers based on their previous Internet actions.After a person has left a website without purchasing, donating, ortaking the desired action, re-targeting serves ads to that person.For example, a prospective donor visits your website, reads your blog,and browses your Get Involved page but doesn’t actually donate or signup for e-mails. Remarketing works by “marking” or “tagging” thesevisitors with a pixel or a cookie. Then, as that website visitor perusesthe Internet, she sees your ads. The goal is to recapture her interest —and hopefully she is reminded to go back to your website to take thedesired action. Companies like Google and Fetchback provide theseretargeting ad services.Cost-per-lead adsCost-per-lead (CPL) advertising, where you pay only for leads to yourwebsite has been used successfully by many nonprofits and politicalcampaigns. The way it works is that you create a call-to-action such asa pledge, petition, or poll on a third party site, and the third party sitedrives people to that action. When people participate in your action,they’re invited to sign up for your list. You pay for only those peoplewho sign up.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  37. 37. chapter4 • OptimizingYourPresencewithDigitalStrategy34Because you pay only when people actually sign up for your list, CPL canbe quite cost-effective and low-risk, enough so that many nonprofits arejumping on the bandwagon, and companies such as Care2, Left Action,and have risen up to meet the demand. CPL can have majoradvantages over Google and Facebook ads; because these leads aregenerated by people taking action on your issue, they are more likely tostay engaged and respond to future calls to action, so you’re not wastingfunds paying for clicks or impressions that may go nowhere. And it’s easyto budget: If you want to grow your supporters by 1,000, you can calculatethe exact cost for those supporters when you plan your campaign.Making Your ContentDiscoverableBeyond paying for ads, you can draw supporters to your nonprofit bycreating content that shows up on their radars, so to speak. You do thisfirst of all by creating good content and reusing, recycling, andrepeating it in as many formats and places online as you can (for moreon these strategies, see Chapter 3). If you want to take your efforts astep further, you can employ some basic search engine optimization(SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) strategies, which I cover inthis section, to make your content appear more often and moreprominently in people’s web searches and social media feeds. And as anonprofit, you have some unique considerations to keep in mind, whichI highlight in this section as well.Basic principles to followFirst and foremost, you need a website. If you don’t have one, stopreading this section right now and get a web development agency tohelp you. You can find a great list of organizations that specialize innonprofit websites at If youdo have a website, congrats — you’re halfway there!Although many strategists throw around SEO terms that can make yourhead spin, don’t worry, it’s really not rocket science. In fact, there areseveral simple things you can do to improve your site’s SEO: • Choose URLs wisely. Whenever possible, URLs should havekeywords that match the keywords you’re targeting and contenton each set page. • Make sure that every page in your site has a unique, relevanttitle in the page’s html title tags. For example, don’t just list yourThese materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  38. 38. OptimizingYourPresencewithDigitalStrategy • chapter435website name or even “About Us”; instead, use “About [Name ofOrganization].”This text appears in search engine results andhelps tell both the search engine and users what the page is about. • Use the description meta tag. By giving each page in your websitea unique, useful, 150-character-or-less description of the pagecontent, you make it easier for a user to decide whether to clickthrough. The description usually is shown right below the pagetitle in search results. • Use heading tags in your content. Heading tags (h1 to h6) aregreat ways to organize your content and provide search engines(not to mention users who are reading your content) clues aboutthe key points in your content. If your organization uses a CMS,you’ve probably seen a drop-down list that starts off with “Format”and then lists a few things including heading 1, heading 2, andso on. Use it. If it doesn’t size or color the text the way you want,have your web developer style them. Don’t use the font size or fontcolor buttons — you’ll waste an excellent opportunity to improveyour SEO. • Use meta keywords in your content. A meta keyword doesn’tappear on your page but gives search engines brief informationabout the content on your page. Ideally, you should have 1 to 10meta keywords. Separate them with commas when inserting theminto the code. A keyword can be more than one word; for example,mountain bikes would be one keyword. Mountain, bikes would betwo. Mountain bikes, road bike would be two. Meta keywords aren’ttaken into consideration by Google but are used to index your siteby Yahoo, Bing, Ask and some of the other search engines. It isn’ttoo time intensive and is worth doing.Google has a free keyword tool ( that allows you to search for traffic sizes anddifficulty to rank for keywords. You can use this tool to determine whichkeywords you may choose over others. If you use Google Analytics, youcan see what keywords are utilized to reach your site, which helps younarrow down which ones you want to target in your content or possiblymake changes to content if people are reaching your site on terms thatdon’t matter to you. People need to come to your site and stick (stay toread the page) and not to immediately bounce (leave the site).These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  39. 39. chapter4 • OptimizingYourPresencewithDigitalStrategy36 • Use descriptive link text. When you’re adding a link, don’t justlink words like “click here.” Instead, link something like “click hereto read this article about....”This text tells both search engines andusers something about the page being linked to. • Get indexed by search engines. In order to do this, follow a fewsteps: 1. Head over to and put your URL, page name,and description into the correct category. 2. Visit andenter your organization’s info again. 3. If you have a physical location, go to Google’s local businesscenter found at 4. Visit and provide your info allthe way at the bottom. It also has a list of different directories to add your organizationto as well — some are free, and others come with a fee. • Seriously consider starting a blog. If you don’t have a blog,start one (for more, see Chapter 3). A blog shouldn’t be a directfundraising pitch; instead, it should be keyword rich. A singleblog for what was a low ranking keyword could easily move yourorganization to the top results. • Update your content regularly. Search engines love fresh content.While you don’t necessarily have to constantly create new pages orblog posts (though it’s great if you can), updating the pages you havewith fresh information or adding new pieces can help a great deal.Now are you feeling better about integrating SEO and SMO into yourstrategy? The best advice I can give is to roll up your sleeves, get a littledirty and test these things out. One of the easiest ways to learn thisstuff is just to do it. Good luck (not that you need it).Unique considerations for nonprofitsThere are plenty of great SEO guides out there, but few address uniqueconsiderations for nonprofits. Here are five specific ways to optimizeyour nonprofit’s site: • Encourage links from supporters. One of the most importantfactors for SEO is having incoming links from reputable externalwebsites. As a nonprofit, you have an advantage in this area,because you likely have supporters who are happy to promote yourcause with a link.Take advantage of this — if your organization hasThese materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  40. 40. OptimizingYourPresencewithDigitalStrategy • chapter437a blog or makes announcements online, make sure that contentis easily shareable. Provide logos, badges, or widgets that yoursupporters can easily plug into their own websites. (Remember,though, that badges must incorporate text links in order to be SEO-friendly, because search engines can’t yet read graphics.) • Don’t forget about pages hosted elsewhere. The pages stored inyour content management system may already be search engineoptimized — but if some of your most important pages are hostedelsewhere (through your CRM system, for example), they maynot be optimized in the same way.The externally hosted page,for example, may have a different domain name than the rest ofyour site, which makes it difficult for search engines to associate itwith your organization. For example, a donation form hosted on aseparate domain cannot be listed as one of your Google Sitelinks.However, if you create a “Donate” page on your own site that directsusers to your donation form, that can appear as a Google Sitelink.You may not have as much control over the format, URL, title, headingusage, and meta tags for pages hosted elsewhere. Take the time toidentify workarounds or dig deeper into the customization options foryour highest priority pages. • Evaluate the calls-to-action throughout your site. Identify thepages on your site that already receive plenty of traffic from searchengines, and then make sure your most important calls-to-action arefeatured on or are at least accessible from those pages.You can alsomake your calls-to-action SEO friendly by incorporating text linkscontaining strong keywords and using alt tags for banners/images. • Manage your online identity. Which is more recognizable to yourtarget audience: your organization’s full name or its acronym?Or maybe neither — are people most likely to be searching for awell-publicized project or campaign you’ve run recently? Does itdepend on the audience? Account for these variations in your SEOstrategy. Also be sure that your website is listed where it should be,both in broad nonprofit listings sites (Idealist, Charity Navigator)and in topic or geographically-focused resources. • Do your keyword homework. When branding new campaigns andprojects, do keyword research. Does the title of your new campaignalign with the terms that your audience is searching for? Identifythe keywords that are most specific to your cause and be able todifferentiate yourself.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  41. 41. These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  42. 42. 5 Messaging forMobile DevicesWhy does text messaging make a great strat-egy for building your list? Because it’sprevalent. Consider this: According to thePew Research Center, 83 percent of American adultsown cellphones, and three-fourths of them send andreceive text messages. If you overlook this opportunityfor allowing supporters to get involved with and advo-cate for you, you may well be forfeiting a nice chunk ofyour potential base.Considering the ManyUses of TextingNonprofits are using texting to grow and deepen their supporters’involvement with their organizations in a number of ways: • Soliciting donations: Text messaging opens up some doorsfor communication with people who may not be interestedin connecting with your organization in other ways. One partof growing a list is soliciting donations from people who areinterested in that type of relationship with your organization, andtext messaging may be a way to do that.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  43. 43. chapter5 • MessagingforMobileDevices40 • Promoting advocacy and providing a call to action: Yoursupporters may be open to receive a text message from you witha phone number and a call-to-action. Many opportunities exist forthis kind of support rallying. Include a clickable phone number for people with smartphones, sothey can make the call immediately. • Announce emergency rallies and/or last-minute events. Textmessages are an excellent means of organizing people quicklybecause they make it easy to send people last-minute messages. • Coordinate events: If you’re at an event where using a walkie-talkie among staff members and volunteers is risky or challenging,or where cellphone reception for conversations is spotty, textmessaging can be a real lifesaver. • Send reminders for trainings and/or upcoming volunteer oppor-tunities: Text messaging is particularly handy for those of you whoconstantly have a phone on hand. Another great feature of textingis that you can quickly get the word out when things change.Creative tips for effectivetexting in the real worldSeveral companies have used a variety of text messaging strategies tosuccessfully grow their base. They use texting to • Build relationships with supporters who likely don’t check e-mailregularly: Jobs with Justice, for example, uses texting to reachunion members whose jobs don’t require them to sit in front of acomputer. • Collect other contact information, like names and e-mailaddresses: The Huffington Post ran a paperless campaign thatinvolved getting supporters to text in this information. • Collect info that helps you segment your list: If you want toorganize supporters according to neighborhood, you could havepeople text in their addresses. Or to organize by occupation, havethem text in their workplaces. You have many options here! • Run an info- or service-based texting campaign: Text messagescan be part of a multi-channel content marketing campaign (seeChapter 3). Planned Parenthood of Maryland uses texting topromote its organization and build brand recognition by providingThese materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  44. 44. MessagingforMobileDevices • chapter541valuable content via text messaging. On buses, the group usessigns that say, “Need prenatal care?” and such, with a “Text [thisnumber]” call-to-action. When a supporter texts that number, shegets a message back that says something like, “Thank you; this isthe nearest clinic. Call us to make an appointment today.”Other organizations have done informational campaigns to raiseawareness of their issues. If your organization is bringing attention to theongoing war in Afghanistan, for example, you could publicize statisticson Facebook and on posters that you’ve strategically placed at publiclibraries, asking something like, “Do you know how many soldiers havebeen killed in the past 6 months?” You can engage folks by asking themto text in and get a response. In short, you’re providing value to the user.Is Texting Right forYour Organization?Of course, there’s no sense in using text messaging to build your listunless it makes sense for your long-term goals. In order to find outwhether it’ll work or is working, ask! Check in with your donors, yourvolunteers, your supporters — the people who are most active in yourorganization — and find out whether they use text messaging andwhether that would be a preferred method for them to interact withyou. If it sounds like there’s overwhelming support from your base, thenyour next step is to make sure it’s realistic to implement.As with all campaigns, make sure you have the time, talent, andresources available within your organization. Make certain thatsupporters specifically opt-in to text messages before you start sendingthem. Like e-mail, people may get very upset if they start receiving textmessages from you without their permission, and the last thing youwant is your supporters to feel negatively about your cause because ofan error in communications etiquette.Running a Text MessagingProgramIf you really strategize how to use text messaging to help you reachyour organizational goals and grow your base, then you’re more likelyThese materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  45. 45. chapter5 • MessagingforMobileDevices42to succeed. If, on the other hand, you launch a text messaging programjust for the sake of jumping on the bandwagon, it’s not likely to yieldresults — just as if you set up a Facebook page but do nothing topromote that page; you aren’t going to get very far. The process ofincorporating text messaging into your base-building efforts is simpleand straightforward — just follow the steps in this section.Figure out who does what and whenDesignate a ring leader for the project. If possible, a single point personshould coordinate the texting program on an ongoing basis. You canhave each staff member brainstorm how texting can supplement hisexisting work, but have one person managing the text program so themessage is consistent.Come up with a tactical plan suitedto your campaign strategyAsk yourself how you can use text messaging to maximize the amountof people that opt-in or rally behind your cause. With any text serviceon the market, these basic services are available to you to incorporateinto your larger plan: • Enable text-to-join. To see just how simple a text message opt-inis, text Salsa to 32075. (When you do, you’ll be added to Salsa’slist, but you can easily opt-out afterward if you like.) • Use widgets. Widgets enable you to copy code provided to you byyour vendor, which you can put on your website to enable peopleto join your text list right from your site. You can also use a widgetto have people join a specific sublist. Doing as much as possibleupfront to collect information for segmentation later is a goodidea. People are less likely to opt-out if you only send the textsthat interest them. • Invite people from your database to opt-in. Ask existing supportersfor their permission to send them text messages, and you can thenupload your list to the service provider. (Remember, though — youcan’t just ask for their phone numbers and start texting them! Beclear about what you plan to do with their mobile numbers.)These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  46. 46. MessagingforMobileDevices • chapter543Opt-in and opt-out are crucial parts of your campaign. Be meticulousabout getting people’s permission for texting just as you would for anytype of correspondence. In fact, be a bit more stringent because withtext messages, people can be charged money — and unwanted mes-sages for a fee really don’t make people too happy.Finding the right vendorWhen searching for a vendor, consider asking the following questions: • Is your service compatible with all cellphone carriers and pre-paidservices? • What does your pricing include? Is it monthly, or do we have tosign a contract? • What features and functionality distinguish your service fromyour competitors’? What do you consider to be your most valuablefeature? • How long have you been in business? • Can you provide me with a list of existing customers?Sending your messagesThe most important advice for running a list-building campaign is to bepatient but persistent. After all, the list won’t grow itself. To get yoursupporters to help grow the list for you, take two simple actions: • Ask the people on your list to help spread the word. Textmessaging offers huge opportunities for the viral possibilities forgrowing your list, especially if you’re vigilant about saying in yourtext blasts, “Please forward this message.” (Feel free to use textingshorthand if you prefer.) • Ask your supporters for feedback early on, changing course ifnecessary. Are people appreciating the content you’re sendingthrough text messages? Are you sending them at the right times,with the right frequency, for the right reasons? Monitor responserates as much as possible to ensure your texts are getting you thedesired results, which is more engaged supporters.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  47. 47. chapter5 • MessagingforMobileDevices44Assessing return on investmentThe value of growing a list is only as good as how you capitalize on thatlist. There are some ways that you can assess whether text messagingis serving your bigger, broader organizational goals. These ways includethe following: • Do texts save staff time? • Are your texting efforts cutting back on paper use? • Are text messages generating new donations? • Do texts increase the value of donations? • Are text messages making it easier for people to take action? • Can texts help people share their passions for your cause by ask-ing friends and family to be supporters?You can evaluate your campaign’s successes by considering the timesyour list grows the most. If, for example, you find that your list growsmost at times where you’re promoting it at events, with growth spurtsevery time you send a message out, that’s a good indication that peopleare forwarding your message and are asking other people to sign on aswell.These materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
  48. 48. AppendixCan’t get enough information on building yourbase of support? We’ve got more resources foryou in this is an educational site packed full of advice abouthow to organically increase support for your cause. It includes trainingvideos, reading assignments, and optional course materials that walkyou through each step of your outreach. There’s also an exam thatallows you to become Grow Your Support Certified.Visit today for more info or to become certified.“I Do!” Engaging in a CommittedOnline RelationshipRead this whitepaper to discover how to engage supporters in acommitted, lasting online relationship. And don’t miss the finalpages — they include a checklist of best practices for developingonline supporter relationships.Download the whitepaper at Real Value of aFacebook FriendBy now you probably have found that Facebook is not the best tool foreffective or efficient fundraising. But, if you’re using it to it’s fullestThese materials are the copyright of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and anydissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.