Editor's note: This post has been revised and updated for content and relevance. It was originally posted 3/28/2016.
As we look to the future with bright eyes filled with hopes and dreams, our goal never changes: to attract as many loyal supporters as we can to your worthy cause.
There seems to be an infinite array of strategies, tools, and methods to go about what we’ve always done (or tried to do)… which is build meaningful relationships with real people.
It can seem a little daunting to make good use of all of these opportunities.
Rest assured, it’s actually easier than ever to connect with your donors, volunteers, and advocates with technology. What's more, everyone is online these days, which is why...
We always advocate community building as our #1 best practice, because it works!
You might be thinking primarily about fundraising, and so are we… that's why we're here to tell you that community building directly correlates to your fundraising potential: the bigger your pool of friends, volunteers, and subscribers, the bigger your pool of potential donors.
Your social media reach, email subscribers, and mobile subscribers all ingest information in different ways and at different rates. Here's a breakdown of how many people on each of those lists can be expected to see your content.
- About 6% of your social media followers will see your content
- Somewhere around 25% of your email subscribers will open your emails (if you’re doing a good job in email marketing communication)
- 99% of your mobile subscribers will open your texts, and 90% will open it within the first three minutes
Clearly, your mobile subscribers are your most tuned in audience; so, below are 3 strategies to start building a larger mobile community.
1) Web Forms & Paper Forms
As we mentioned above, community building is the best way to raise more funds and start seeing success from your mobile community.
Collecting as much information as you can from your donors will help you build powerful, segmented lists, that you can use to target your communications much more effectively.
What kind of data could you be collecting, that you might not be right now?
A great place to start is with mobile phone numbers, to build your mobile subscriber list. Consider integrating an optional mobile number field in the web forms and paper forms you’re already using. Also, if you're using a text to give service, include an opt-in checkbox so that you can add their number directly to your texting list.
Collecting additional data will allow you to build personas for your donors, and target your marketing offers more specifically to them, helping to maximize conversion.
When one of those donors comes to your website to learn more about your cause, you can use these targeted marketing offers and compelling copy to get them to subscribe for future updates. You can learn more about writing compelling copy right here on the blog.
As a next step, you can start to cross pollinate your social media following by tweeting / posting links back to your landing page forms with compelling reasons to take action.
- Having an event? Gather email and mobile subscribers through forms for RSVP and donations. Have staff members roaming with clipboards! Read up for some more tips for event planning.
- Writing a petition? Find areas in your community filled with like-minded people, and strategically place your staff members there.
- Planning a fundraising campaign? Use a compelling story, in video form, of what impact your organization has in the world, and tell donors why they should give to you! Here at mGive, we're fond of saying that although you can make it very easy to give, people don't donate just because it's easy. People give when they feel compelled to give.
2) In Real Life (IRL) Calls-to-Action
Don’t forget the power of your, or your team’s, personal voice.
Think about the last time you had a great conversation with someone about your organization. That person was jazzed about what you do: you smiled, discussed, and had a phenomenal time... then said goodbye. You may chat with them again, or you may never see them again.
How do you keep in touch with everyone?
You could give them your business card, but life takes hold and they forget, and you forget to nurture the relationship… or you or they lose the card.
If you're able to get them in your mobile list right there, when it's fresh... you can text them whenever you want!
You could have said, “Hey, you really get what we’re about, I’d love to invite you to get updates via text… do you have a cell phone? Pull it out and text [your-keyword] to [your-shortcode].”
Your organization’s keyword is a short memorable word that someone can easily text in the message. They would text that word to a shortcode, which is essentially a phone number that got a bit of a haircut and is 5-6 numbers long. If you'd like to learn more about text to give, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.
We recently wrote an entire guide surrounding live calls to action. Check it out for a few more tips to make your interactions as effective as possible!
3) Event or Media Call-to-Action
This is probably the strategy with which you’re most familiar: you’re at a baseball event and see something like ‘Text BASEBALL to 50555’ on the jumbo-tron. Or, you’re watching a live streaming nonprofit telethon / YouTube extravaganza… and in the lower third of the video you see something like ‘Text PUPPIES to 50555’.
These are examples of text calls to action, and can be utilized well in signage to convert people from attendees to donors. However, there are right and wrong ways to perform a call to action. Be careful not to simply flash the call to action up for a few seconds, only for it to go away, never to be seen again.
The baseball analogy above is a great example. You may think that a jumbo-tron spot is perfect for a text call to action: large audience, wide reach... but is it really as perfect as you think?
Sure, you might have a large audience, but they aren't there for you, they're there to see a game. The likelihood of a large number of people paying attention to your call to action, remembering it, and actually texting in is much lower than in some other situations.
In fact, your jumbo-tron spot could perhaps better be utilized to share a moving story about the work your nonprofit does. Draw people in, make them pay attention, get them to care. Throughout the video, or at the end, consider placing your text call to action. Not for donations, simply asking people to text in to learn more about the amazing work you do.
Later on, when they're more committed, by all means, ask them to donate! Rushing the process, however, will not serve to maximize your conversion from supporters to donors.
Please use this as an integrated strategy with the others detailed here. Many clients use this one time at one event, and see relatively good conversion rates on calls-to-action. But they might not have the explosive impact they intially expect. This technology isn't the magic bullet, your compelling reason or message is. Text is the easiest way for people to give, but as we said before....
People don't give just because it's easy.
Just like putting a credit card form in front of someone and just saying DONATE… that doesn’t necessarily make the individual want to donate! It’s your heartfelt mission that compels a desire for them to take action.
Why should I give to your organization?
And why should I give to your organization over another?
There are tons of people out there that aren’t yet aware of your cause. But they would no doubt become loyal and active supporters of your efforts, if they could just get touched by your heartfelt mission.
You can connect with people where they are more and more now, with the power to easily share your message with the world with a click of a button.
The massive viral power of social media and the internet is a huge opportunity for your organization to grow and connect with like-hearted individuals.
Take it slow. Bite it off in chunks.
Add one tool that helps you towards that ultimate goal of changing the world… and let’s not forget that’s what we’re out to do!
Look to integrate mobile into your mix. We highly recommend that you do when you’re ready, as it’s always been a powerful tool to engage donors… and it's becoming even more so.
Thanks for reading. Be well, I'll see you again soon!