The Joy of Finding Supporters
and Turning them into Donors
Katherine Watier – Director of Online
Courtney Ussery – Online Data Analyst
Different Fundraising Dynamics
A few universal truths:
• Online fundraising success flows from
• List building is a two-way street – finding
ways to locate support, but also making
ourselves available to be found.
• Email campaigns with a series of emails
work better than a solo appeal
List Building for
Optimize your Site
• Use of keywords in copy
• Make newsletter sign up prominent
• Make donation feature easy to find
• Test donation page
• Use web analytics to find other
improvements to user flow
• Use info from donation page to
• Capitalize on universal search:
– Register with local search
– Upload videos of performances or events to
– Create a Facebook group for students to join
– Update their review on Yelp
– Post upcoming performances on Eventful
– Periodically post on Craigslist in the “classes”
and “events” section
– Send press release to Search Engines using
• Apply for Google grant & run paid ads on
“hip hop classes in Washington, DC” etc
They wanted to
Pave Paradise, and put up a Parking Lot!
Pave Paradise, Put up a Parking Lot
Here’s the Challenge:
In 2006, a condo development threatened the
home of a local Bethesda art program, so it
developed partnership with other threatened art
programs try to stop the development.
Bethesda is an arts district in part because of
these art programs, so they appealed to city
council to stop the development, or help them
find a new home for both art programs.
Email Campaign Timeline
• Email 1 – Save Our Home action
• Email 2 – Action follow-up to non-action takers
• Email 3 – Final action/Tell a Friend
– Thank you for taking action
• Email 4 – Fundraising email 1
• Email 5 – Fundraising email 2, to those who have not
donated “We’ve raised this much can you
help us get to $X?”
Email Campaign Timeline
• Email 6 – Fundraising email 3 “We’re moving, and
could use your help”
– Thank you for donating
• Email 7 – “Please bear with us as we relocate.”
• Email 8 – “Next week is moving week!”
• Email 9 – “Classes will be canceled next week as we
move, and will resume the following
Monday. Thank you for your support, and we
look forward to seeing you in our new
Let’s Look at an Appeal Email
Ask: We’re moving and need your help!
2. Segment List: Parents of students
and adult students
3. Create email copy, landing page and
4. Use email checklist
5. Set for delivery
6. Analyze results
Is all the work worth it? Yes!
Success story from
The Nature Conservancy
• The Nature Conservancy's Digital Membership team
boasts a three-figure average gift and continues to
sustain annual growth over 55%.
How did they do it?
• Conducted Keyword Research resulting in a 395%
lift in online gifts over the previous year.
• Conducted eye tracking, click-path, and potential
donor user flow research which resulted in a 54%
increase in revenue.
• Continually stay on top of Email Industry
Benchmarks and Best Practices to discover new
opportunities to double their click-through rate.
Katherine Watier – email@example.com
Courtney Ussery - firstname.lastname@example.org
My presentation for the Democracy in Action Conference in 2008