As you know by now, social media serves a vital role in your overall nonprofit marketing strategy. However, it can be time-consuming and is ever-changing, making it difficult for nonprofits to stay on top of the trends. If you’re struggling to manage your social media strategy, the following stats should shed some light on factors to keep in mind as you work to connect with your donors and garner more donations!

1.) 74% of online adults in the U.S. now use a social media site of some kind. Additionally, these adults, ages 18-64, are spending an average of 3.6 hours per day on social media (Ipsos OTX). That’s almost a quarter of the average person’s waking hours. It is time to recognize that social media needs to be an important part of your marketing efforts that requires knowledge, a written strategy, allocated time and resources.

Donate key pressed by male hand to represent online giving2.) 55% of people who engaged with causes via social media have been inspired to take further action (Waggener Edstrom). Your goal is to reach current and potential donors and volunteers and drive them to your website. The good news is that more than half of people who engage with your cause could be inspired to take action, such as volunteer or donate. If you create quality content and a marketing strategy that brings new visitors to your website, you will be on the road to increasing your online donations.

3.) 68% of people take time to learn more about a charity if they see a friend posting about it (MDG). Without social media, you are missing out on the opportunity to garner donations from new donors. The amazing thing about social media is that it allows you to reach people in geographically dispersed locations. By creating a Facebook page, you can begin receiving donations from people who may have otherwise never heard of your organization. Make sure that you link back to your website and donation pages in your “About” section as well as in posts to help make it easier for users to donate.

4.) Visuals can be processed by the mind 60,000 times faster than text. According to studies done by psychologist Albert Mehrabian, this is why 93% of communication is nonverbal. In a medium where people make decisions about what to read or click on in seconds, it is critical to grab their attention up front and there is no better way to do this than with videos. Additionally, posts with videos attract 3X as many inbound links as plain text posts, driving more people to your social media posts and pages. And according to Cisco, 80% of all consumer Internet traffic will be video by 2018. Videos can be created and shared easily with smartphones and tablets and do not have to be expensive to produce or take a long time to create. Even just using your smartphone to capture volunteers in action or everyday behind-the-scenes activities at your office can help increase your inbound links by up to 3 times.

5.) Instagram grew by 50% in the past 9 months, now boasting more active users than Twitter (Instagram). If you are unsure as to which social sites you should focus your efforts on, give Instagram a try. It is rapidly growing and offers a great outlet for sharing exciting photos. And image-based social sites are expected to trend this year. Begin capturing candid shots of your volunteers, fundraisers, and community and you’re off to a good start with Instagram.

6.) 77% of Internet users read blogs. (Social4Retail). Creating fresh, useful content in the form of a blog is a great idea for several reasons. First, it is great for search engine optimization (SEO), helping you to turn up in Google’s search results. Second, it shows a personable side to your organization, allowing you to connect with potential donors. Finally, it provides you with original content to share on your social sites, helping you to push more traffic to your website, placing them just 1 click away from your donation page.

mobile phone with website image7.) 68% of time spent on Facebook is via mobile device (Statista). In this day and age, nearly everyone has a mobile device. And they are using these mobile devices to access the internet, email, and their social media sites. (Currently, about 79% of Internet users access the Internet using their mobile phone. By 2017, it is estimated that 91% of Internet users will do so.) With over two-thirds of time spent on Facebook occurring via mobile device, you must have a mobile friendly website and donation page. After all, a big part of your social media strategy is pushing donors to your website and without a mobile friendly website, you are losing potential leads.

8.) Responsive design doubles giving on mobile devices (Donor Drive). Another phrase to describe a mobile friendly site is responsive design. More specifically, responsive design refers to a site that dynamically resizes to fit the device it is being displayed on. If a donor tries to access the donation form on your website via their mobile device, they are expecting a responsive, or mobile friendly page. If they have to pinch and zoom to fill out the form, you are going to see a high bounce rate and a low conversion rate. Experts estimate that more than 1 billion people in 2015 will access the Internet ONLY through their mobile devices and this number is expected to continue to grow. If you do one thing to your website in 2015, implement responsive design

9.) Organic Facebook reach is around 2% for most business pages (Ogilvy). Over time, Facebook’s organic reach for business pages has slowly dropped which has actually led to an increase in Facebook’s revenue year-on-year. By doing this, they are forcing brands to “spend more on Facebook Ads for greater visibility”. If your nonprofit is active on Facebook, think about putting some money towards advertising. Right now, all it takes is $5 per week to push your posts in front of more followers. We know that money can be an obstacle for nonprofits on social media, but even putting $20 once a month toward a campaign post can help increase your online donations.

10.) Facebook refers 29.4% of traffic to donation pages on #GivingTuesday (Nonprofit Tech for Good). As a social media-based fundraising event, #GivingTuesday continues to grow. Does your nonprofit marketing strategy for this year include creating a #GivingTuesday campaign in the fourth quarter and promoting it on both Twitter and Facebook to reach more people? Visit GivingTuesday.org, for resources, case studies, and more. Their Tools section has lots of ideas and videos along with branding materials. They also regularly update their blog with best practices tips and examples. Be sure to plan well in advance of this December 1 event.

Remember, the most important reason to be on social networking sites should be to drive traffic back to your website. Connecting with people is an important first step but what you really want your follows to do is visit your website so that you can engage them further and obtain their email addresses to enable further communications. All in all, we hope these social media statistics will help to power your nonprofit marketing strategy in 2015.

photo of SaraWritten by Sara Thompson, SEO and Social Media Administrator at Informatics Inc.

About Informatics: Informatics is a full service web agency that provides a wealth of web related services, including digital marketing, web design and development, e-marketing strategies, hosting, custom web applications, mobile applications, social media management, SEO services, photo and video services and multimedia development.

broken heart

Photo credit: bored-now, via Flikr cc

Relationships are hard! But, in the words of Jimmy Dugan, “The hard…is what makes it great.” Granted, he was talking about baseball in the movie League of Their Own but I think we can agree it applies to personal relationships, and even donor relationships. Why do relationships get stale and so many times lead to a wandering eye? I am not going to turn this into a personal self-help blog, but I think the question is worth exploring as it relates to why we think “donor fatigue” will keep our relationships from giving to us in capital campaigns, and why we lust after new donors to fulfill our needs.

I had a conversation with a prospective client the other day wanting to raise $5 million for a specific capital project. They shared with me their exciting work and the impact their growth will provide. The one caveat they threw out was that they needed to raise the funds with primarily new donors. They believe their existing donors are “tapped out” and “fatigued.” If you believe this describes your current relationship with your donors, you need to look in the mirror and ask “what did I do (or not do) to make my donors tired of giving to me?”

One relationship expert makes the point that if your personal relationship is stale, you need to ask yourself some key questions about your satisfaction with things in your personal life like your work, friendships, and passion for what you do when trying to determine why the fire has gone out. (In other words, the buck stops with you.) Relating this premise to fundraising, what are we actually communicating to our donors through our words and actions about the impact of their giving, the urgency of the need, and our appreciation for their involvement?

Does Donor Fatigue Really Exist?
Is there really such a thing as donor fatigue or are they just tired of your approach to their needs? If they are passionate about the cause and the mission and you are meeting their needs to make a difference with their giving, why would they get tired of doing what they are passionate about unless we, through our actions or inactions, have given them cause?

Here is the reality. Most capital campaigns receive 90 to 95 percent of what is raised from existing relationships. There is a truism in fundraising that says “first gifts are rarely capacity gifts.” Even if a new donor has the resources to fund your entire project, the likelihood of them giving to that level at the first introduction is highly suspect. So why, when we have the opportunity to invite our “significant others” to participate in a meaningful way in our mission such as a capital campaign, are we looking for one night stands?

The challenge BEFORE getting to the capital campaign is to understand your donor’s passions and interests, cultivate that sense of care for your mission, inspire them to prioritize the project at hand in a way that fulfills their philanthropic priorities, and ultimately support the project to their full capacity.   The bottom line is, it’s not the asking that fatigues donors.  It’s the lack of love they feel from you.

Capital Campaigns 7 Deadly Sins #4 - Lust

Again we can look to our personal experiences when considering the cause for donor relationships to grow cold. An article about personal relationships, 3 Reasons Why Your Relationship Goes Stale, (that actually lists 4 reasons) outlines it pretty well and can be directly related to donors and fundraising activities.

Too Much Familiarity
“Over time, the novelty of the ‘getting to know you’ phase disappears and you may be content with doing the same things over and over again. You become too comfortable in the relationship and you cease to exert effort. As a result you become stuck in a rut.” One way I have seen this play out is with board members moving into a capital campaign. Often, clients “forget” that the same consideration and energy they put into other major gift “asks” must be extended to their board members as well in order to bring them to a quality decision and capacity giving.

Small Problems
“When you are dealing with a big problem you tend to do all you can to resolve it. The small problems, on the other hand, get pushed to the background. Sometime it is the (seemingly) little things that wear a relationship down.” You may not think it is a big deal to have names exactly right in your database, but how big of a deal do you think it is to a donor that you are about to ask for a three-year commitment to your capital campaign that you don’t even know who they are, much less what they care about?

Boredom
“Starting a relationship is easy. But maintaining it is another story. Once routine kicks in things can get boring fast.”
Do you think your donors are getting bored with the same approach and message year after year? How many standard, mass communications are they receiving versus personal messages and interactions? Do you have new goals for each visit that continually deepen the relationship? A simple truth is that any relationship that isn’t deepening is either stagnant or growing apart.

Lack of Romance
Dollars in a heart shape.“In the beginning of the relationship the romance is there. But after a while you don’t bother to make the effort anymore. Every relationship needs romance. You have to demonstrate your love through actions and words.Donors know you love their money, what they question is how much do you love them? Are you personally, authentically, and regularly showing true appreciation and care for them as well as their commitment to your mission?

One couples therapist puts it this way, “I explain how long-term relationships lose steam because couples stop believing that their partner really wants to please them.” She goes on to suggest that if you will ask one simple question daily it can make all of the difference in the world: “What can I do to make today easier or more fun for you?” What if we approached our donors with a truly “donor-centric” approach that asks, what can I do for you today?

Whose Relationship is it?
Now that we have dealt with fixing your relationships, let’s deal with the temptation of the wandering eye. Going back to the organization mentioned above asking me to bring new relationships for their project, have you ever really considered what you are suggesting when you ask a consulting firm to introduce you to new donors?

I wrote an article called Whose Relationship is it Anyway? about my personal experience with this topic. If you ask a consultant whom you are considering to provide counsel to you for your capital campaign about their ability to introduce new donors, or if a fundraising consulting firm offers to do so, there are some questions you need to ask:

  1. Did any of these relationships come as a result of your work with other organizations?
  2. Will you use your best efforts to establish a direct, personal, and ongoing relationship between these donors and our organization?
  3. Whose relationship will it be at the end of the campaign?
  4. Once the campaign is complete, will you introduce these or any of our other current relationships to other organizations you work with in the future?
  5. Will you continue to introduce potential donors to our organization once this campaign is complete?

A Cautionary Tale
I witnessed one particularly nasty “custody battle” between an individual, local consultant and an organization that asked for her to bring new “love interests” to the organization for a capital campaign. As the engagement unfolded, she refused to introduce those prospective donors directly to the organization to allow for a true relationships to develop, claiming them as her own. When her relationship with the organization understandably started to go south, she “shopped” both the prospective donors and a similar, competing project to another organization in the community. Now that is an extreme example, but I do think there is a reason that the AFP Code of Professional Ethics frowns on suggesting to an organization that we, as trusted advisors to the organizations we serve, can bring new donors to your project.

Authentic Relationships Drive Capacity Giving
It is not a bad thing to engage new donors through a capital campaign. In fact, it should be a specific goal to do so. However, a capital campaign is a true test of how well you have done in growing your relationships with your donors. Relationships are built on mutual respect and trust. That comes with hard work and putting others’ needs first. For you to reach your full potential in a capital campaign it will be because you have put your donors’ needs before yours and asked them what you can do to make them happy in their giving.

Ignore your relationships at your peril, or more precisely the peril of those you serve, and put your hope in lust for a new lover to save the day if you want to be disappointed. If you want to be successful, remember this: In love the other is important; in lust you are important.

This is the forth in a series of nine posts.
You can see the first post and full INFOGRAPHIC here.
Read the previous post on Capital Campaigns Deadly Sin #2: Gluttony.

Written by Daniel Neel, President of The Fundraising Resource Group. The Fundraising Resource Group helps non-profit organizations across the United States with fundraising feasibility studies, capital campaigns, annual giving campaigns, major gift fundraising, non-profit marketing, fundraising training, and other high-impact, high-return giving activities. For more about how we can help your nonprofit achieve fundraising success, visit http://www.thefundraisingresource.com or call 888-522-1492.

Boomers represent 43% of  donationsDid you know that 88% of dollars raised come from just 12% of the donors (Fundraising Effectiveness Project)? This, in a nutshell, is the concept that drives major gift fundraising and explains why major gifts should be an important focus in your fundraising efforts. So who are these major gift donors and how do you find them? Today, a large group of these major gift donors are Baby Boomers.

While Baby Boomers make up 34% of all donors, they are giving the lion’s share of donations representing 43% of all monies raised (Blackbaud). That makes them an indispensable source of donations. Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, those aged 51-69 as of 2015. And Boomers as major gift donors are on the rise.

Self-Expression vs. DutyWhy are Boomers Major Gift Donors?
One of the key reasons why Boomers are often major gift donors is due to their income, compared to other generations. Boomers have 70% of all disposable income in the United States, according to Engage: Boomers.

Additionally, the reason Boomers donate differs from the reason the generation before them donates. The older generation, those born before 1964, tend to donate to more traditional institutions such as their alma maters and religious organizations and do so out of a sense of duty. While Baby Boomers also donate to these organizations, more and more they are seeing donating, and being involved with nonprofit organizations, as a means of self-expression. They take the time to choose a charity that reflects their values. According to The Wall Street Journal, for Boomers “serving on a nonprofit board (or several) seems like a natural choice to leverage a passion or skill and give back to the community.” And the financial commitment that goes along with board membership “‛averages between $5,000 and $10,000 annually’ says Cynthia Remec, executive director of BoardAssist, a New York nonprofit that matches potential directors to nonprofits.”

How Do We Reach Boomers?
Again, Baby Boomers are interested in donating as a form of self-expression. As such, they are going to seek out nonprofits that they find align with their own values and interests. One way they will be drawn in is through volunteering. According to the 2014 US Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, 75.1% of high net worth individuals volunteer. A recent Fidelity Study on volunteering and philanthropy found that while the majority of donors (58%) are more likely to support a charity financially before volunteering, 42% indicated they volunteered before giving.

Boomers are also the first generation of donors to be familiar with computers as well as online research (92%), online banking (71% bank online at least once per week), and online donations (31% and growing). In the past, you may have had to rely on direct mail and phone calls to reach donors of the older generation, but now you have a whole new platform. Email marketing, social media, and streamlined online donations are all nonprofit fundraising acquisition strategies you should have in your arsenal. Of course, once you acquire donors, it is critical that you have a strategy to build meaningful relationships with those you identify as having the capacity to grow and eventually become major gift donors.

Additional things to keep in mind include:

  • Boomers keep a smaller list when it comes to charities they support. Whereas the older generation supports 6.2 charities on average, Boomers support 4.5 (Blackbaud). Because of this, you will need to focus on being on their smaller list. This means more personal communication and focus on building stronger relationships. You need to connect with your donors emotionally.
  • You should let Boomers’ personal interests and passions guide their individual cultivation plans. They are going to donate to you if they find value in your charity and their needs are being met. Understand that they want to make a difference and see your organization as a “gateway to meaningful experiences.” (Future Fundraising Now) Give them the experiences they need.
  • Be authentic. Boomers will know when you are giving them a sales pitch or aren’t truly interested in them beyond what they can do for you. “Boomers are at a juncture in their life journeys where they are looking for the deeper meaning, the second act, or just trying to enjoy the journey.” That deeper meaning needs to come not just from your cause, but from their role and impact in your cause.

In 2015, focus on honing your major gift fundraising strategy to draw in more Baby Boomers. While still maintaining relationships with donors from the older generation, you will want to shift some focus onto the Boomers. According to Dennis McCarthy, one of the co-authors of the Blackbaud study, The Next Generation of American GivingBoomers will be the predominant paradigm for at least the next decade.”

Written by Lee Neel, Vice President of The Fundraising Resource Group. The Fundraising Resource Group helps non-profit organizations across the United States with fundraising feasibility studies, capital campaigns, annual giving campaigns, major gift fundraising, non-profit marketing, fundraising training, and other high-impact, high-return fundraising activities. For more about how we can help your non-profit achieve fundraising success, visit our website at www.thefundraisingresource.com or call 888-522-1492.

A pair of gluttony pantsHave you heard of gluttony pants? Probably not. They are smart-looking khakis that offer a trio of buttons (labeled “Piglet,” “Sow,” and “Boar”) to allow the happily over-indulging eater to expand the waistline of his or her pants to match the growth of their bloating body. I suppose it may sound like “problem solved,” until you try to put on your other clothes and realize what you have really done. (Not to mention the long-term health implications of such undisciplined behavior.)

A study entitled Self-Control: A Function of Knowing When and How to Exercise Restraint, by Kristian Ove R. Myrseth and Ayelet Fishbach from the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago sums up their findings by saying “To successfully pursue a goal in the face of temptation, an individual must first identify that she faces a self-control conflict. Only then will the individual exercise self-control to promote goal pursuit over indulging in temptation.” I will come back to this premise in a bit, but first let me share a story.

A Capital Campaign Story
We worked with an organization recently that was in the process of finishing out their facilities master plan. This organization had used a series of capital campaigns along with long-term debt for growth in the past. In fact, they had reached a point during the down economy where debt was no longer an option, not because they could not service the debt, but because lenders were unwilling to stretch any further with them.

We conducted a feasibility study to determine the potential capacity and strategy to take on the next couple of stages in their master plan. Our findings and recommendations suggested that they only had the support among their constituents to move forward with one of the priorities, and that the rest would either have to wait or be funded through other means than philanthropic support at this time.

They were very pleased with our evaluation, insights, and honesty and set forth on a capital campaign with a right-sized goal to complete the first priority. We had developed the pro-forma financial impact for ongoing operations of the expansion and the marketing message, strategy and materials. We had begun to raise funds and engage top donors and leaders by making the case that this project was indeed the most urgent and logical next step for the organization’s growth. Then a couple of things happened.

By the time that they put every bell-and-whistle into the facility plan, construction costs came in well above the estimated cost. Then the big opportunity came along. A 10-acre piece of land contiguous to their current property came available at a very attractive price. You can’t pass up a good deal like that! Can you?

Gluttony is the #2 deadly sin of capital campaigns.

The Research
Going back to the Self Control Study mentioned above, what Myrseth and Fishbach concluded is that temptation is not necessarily the problem, but encountering it without an appreciation (and plan) for the effects of acting on it and the impact on your short- and long-term goals is where you can get into trouble. The report from the study uses the example of a diabetic diner facing a delicious dessert on the plate before her, but knowing that having that dessert could trigger dangerous insulin levels; she should not have it. In this case it is pretty easy to predict that she will resist this temptation in favor of the goal to stay healthy (and alive).

The decision is not always so clear-cut. They go on with the scenario if one does not have insulin concerns, having a single dessert alone may not be a big deal but having dessert regularly could prove detrimental to your health goals. The report concludes in this example, “the dieter considering a highly caloric dessert for a single occasion (e.g., her birthday) is less likely to identify conflict with goal pursuit than is the dieter considering dessert for multiple occasions, even when both are aware of the caloric content. The likelihood of self-control success would therefore depend jointly on (a) identifying self-control conflict and (b) invoking effective self-control strategies.”

What is the correlation between this study and an organization in the midst of a capital campaign when a good deal comes along? Here is the bottom line, when pursuing a goal, such as raising funds through a capital campaign to fund any given need, the organization must set not only the financial goal for the campaign but understand the longer-term goals such as outcomes, services, and ongoing financial sustainability associated with the project being funded. If the appropriate groundwork has been laid to understand and communicate these goals, you are more likely to successfully evaluate the consequences of potential project creep, and make a wise choice on how to respond.

The Temptation
The organization in the example above was faced with a juicy temptation that cannot be assumed to be all bad. The dilemma was how to best approach the opportunity without derailing long-term goals and, specifically, setting an unattainable capital campaign goal, ensuring a perceived failure. The glutton would simply say, “We will just increase our campaign goal to cover the cost of construction and the price of the land; just say that is what we need and let the chips fall where they may.”

A study by the Non-profit Research Collaborative suggests that is exactly how almost three-fourths (74%) of responding nonprofit organizations set their capital campaign goal, by how much they need. This partly explains why an estimated 40% of all capital campaigns fail to reach their goals. Another nifty trick is to just keep extending the campaign timeline, going back to the same donors and hoping one day you can get there. Both of these approaches amount to no more than letting your gluttony pants out a couple of notches which almost always leads to a campaign that does not reach its goal, even if it reaches its potential.

Capital campaign goal truism, "you can only raise what it available to be raised."The Options
So what do you do? That is where the Self Control Study and the planning process merge. First, having done your homework to understand your long-term goals and conducting a feasibility study to understand your potential to reach the financial objectives of the campaign, you anticipate the temptations. If the opportunity is too good to pass up you can:

  • go back to key constituents, even if they have already given, make your case and determine if additional potential exists;
  • identify potential constituents and donors specific to the new opportunity who may not have been a target for the projects of the original capital campaign in a “private placement” opportunity specific to their interests;
  • find alternative sources of financing that will not upset your long-term goals or stretch you beyond your reality;
  • adjust your priorities and openly, clearly and compelling communicate the shift to your donors and stakeholders; or
  • just say no.

What you cannot do is create philanthropic support where it does not exist either in capacity or interest. One of the great truisms in capital campaign fundraising is “You can only raise what is available to be raised.”

A Capital Campaign Story – Continued
The organization in the example above approached the temptation with a combination of the options presented. First, they were able to renegotiate the existing debt with their lender to potentially borrow the funds needed. Because of the pre-planning and projections related to incremental revenue and costs, they knew exactly what they could afford. But before borrowing, they took the specific land purchase opportunity to a couple of potential sources for support who were not interested in the original project but for whom the land fit their philanthropic interest. Lastly, they communicated with their constituents why this shift in strategy was exactly the right thing to do to accelerate, not impede, their long-term goals.

Here is my advice to help you deal with the temptation of taking another bite when you have already reached the last notch in your belt (or button on your pants):

  1. Establish the long-term goals and objectives of the organization through thorough planning, and use those goals to keep you on course.
  2. Develop a comprehensive project business plan with rationale, measurable outcomes, realistic timelines, scenarios for phasing, scaling or financing, and comprehensive financial projections for both capital and operations.
  3. Conduct a planning and feasibility study to gage the philanthropic support for the potential capital campaign and projects to be funded, and listen to what your donors tell you.
  4. Chart showing self-control identification and resolutionEstablish and validate realistic benchmarks for success (a.k.a. campaign goal) that you will exceed. You need an unqualified success, and goals are simply the benchmark for that success.
  5. Differentiate between needs and goals. You can talk in terms over your overall need without establishing it as a campaign goal.
  6. Track and measure the financial results and projections throughout the campaign to ensure you have a clear financial path for success.
  7. Anticipate opportunities or challenges that may tempt you to take just one more bite, and test those against your reality and your goals. Use the simple model, right, from the Self-Control Study to test those temptations and plan your response.
  8. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

In conclusion, you may ask “does it really matter?” Go big or go home. One of my most memorable Thanksgiving meals as a child was the time I just had to have one more bite of pie. The consequences were devastating, and the aftermath memorable, and not for good reasons. If you want to ensure that people remember your capital campaign, don’t reach your goal. And the sure way to do that is to bite off more than you can chew.

This is the third in a series of nine posts.
You can see the first post and full INFOGRAPHIC here.
Read the previous post on Capital Campaigns Deadly Sin#1: Envy.
Read the next post on Capital Campaigns Deadly Sin #3: Lust.

Written by Daniel Neel, President of The Fundraising Resource Group. The Fundraising Resource Group helps non-profit organizations across the United States with fundraising feasibility studies, capital campaigns, annual giving campaigns, major gift fundraising, non-profit marketing, fundraising training, and other high-impact, high-return fundraising activities. For more about how we can help your nonprofit achieve fundraising success, visit http://www.thefundraisingresource.com or call 888-522-1492.

You’ve just completed the quiet phase of your capital campaign, raising approximately 60% of your goal from major donors and are now preparing to take the campaign public. One of your first steps will likely be to create a landing page on your website where potential donors can go to learn about your campaign and how they can help. It’s important to create a powerful, well-optimized, landing page as it can make all the difference in the world. Here are some best practices for getting the most out of your capital campaign web presence!

Give Your Capital Campaign its Own Page
Remember, a capital campaign isn’t business as usual. It’s an intensive fundraising effort designed to raise a specified sum of money within a defined time period. It should have a sense of urgency. This is why your capital campaign should have its own page where it can stand out. However, for all but the largest nonprofits, it is generally not a good idea to create a new and separate website or microsite for the campaign. Doing so will cause visitors to feel disoriented and lost and just steal traffic away from your current website. The capital campaign page can have its own unique look and feel, just as long as it isn’t completely disengaged from the rest of the site design.

Include Your Capital Campaign in Your Main Navigation
Ideally, you don’t want to tuck your capital campaign page in the online giving section of your website. Once you have set up your capital campaign page, you will want to add it to your site’s main navigation to signal its importance and keep it one click away no matter which page a visitor enters your site from. The importance of this can’t be stressed enough. If you have a content management system, you may still need to contact your developer to add the tab to your main navigation, but it is worth the added effort. Once they restructure your site map, you will be able to make page edits as you please.

Add a Secondary Path on Your Homepage
In addition to your main navigation, users should have another option for accessing your capital campaign page. Consider adding a prominent “Give to Our Campaign” button to your homepage or adding an image and call to action in your homepage slider. A pop-up like the one Perkiomen has on their homepage is another fun option for staying front-of-mind.

Interactive capital campaign pageInclude Interactivity
One major benefit to digital over print is the opportunity for interactivity. From sliding photos and video playlists to floor plans and interactive maps, your capital campaign page can truly engage the end user. See how Harvard University, clearly with a large budget, used interactivity, statistics, and graphical elements to share key facts about their campaign. A more straightforward example is Ole Miss that features a visual that changes perspective as you mouse over it and a video that is an arena “fly through” that walks you through their project vision. Adding interactivity to your page doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Use these examples to get your creative juices flowing on how you can engage users on your capital campaign page.

Make Your Story Consumable 
You will want to make your capital campaign story prominent, concise and consumable. Online users tend to skim content and often become overwhelmed when they are presented with too much information. Again, Perkiomen does a great job presenting their story in a quick, easy-to-read format (although the dark background and reverse-out type make it a bit harder to read). Create a two sentence campaign mission statement to present up front and allow visitors to gather more information at their own discretion.

Show the Progress
Graphic showing campaign progress.A fun feature to include on your page is a campaign progress bar. A campaign progress bar will show how your campaign is performing in an easy to understand, visual format. You can even include milestones to indicate certain successes. Additionally, a progress bar will convert visitors into donors by adding a competitive, goal-oriented component to the campaign. For inspiration, check out the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Their capital campaign page features a progress bar that leads you to key moments and a timeline of the overall plan, all in a clear and colorful format. Remember, it is very important that you keep the information on your campaign page up-to-date. I have visited too many sites where the information is clearly old and it not only takes the urgency out of your campaign, it leaves a poor impression of your website overall.

Donation page thank you example.Allow and Plan for Social Media Shares
One way to encourage others to help spread the word on your capital campaign is by including social media share buttons on the “thank you” landing page that visitors see after making a donation. When a person supports a cause, he or she typically likes to tell others about it and you want to encourage this kind of word-of-mouth marketing. (More on the topic of thank you landing pages.) You will also want to ensure that your website and donation form are responsive. With such large numbers of users accessing social media from their mobile devices, you will need to be prepared for when they click through to your website.

Written by Sara Thompson, SEO and Social Media Administrator at Informatics Inc. and Lee Neel, Vice President of Marketing for The Fundraising Resource Group.

About Informatics: The Fundraising Resource strategic partner, Informatics, is a full service web agency that provides a wealth of web related services, including digital marketing, web design and development, e-marketing strategies, hosting, custom web applications, mobile applications, social media management, SEO services, photo and video services and multimedia development.

The Fundraising Resource Group helps non-profit organizations across the United States with fundraising feasibility studies, capital campaigns, annual giving campaigns, major gift fundraising, non-profit marketing, fundraising training, and other high-impact, high-return fundraising activities. For more about how we can help your non-profit achieve fundraising success, visit our website at www.thefundraisingresource.com or call 888-522-1492.