Acquiring new email addresses and new donors is imperative to building relationships through online fundraising. And it’s a lot like dating; how could you ask her to dinner if you never asked for her number?
Clearly, the more email addresses your organization has, the greater your potential for online fundraising success. But how to execute on that premise is an ever-evolving landscape of strategies, tactics, and technological assets.
Here are five ideas for bringing it all together to help drive new constituent acquisition.
1. Optimize your website homepage for email capture:
Converting email addresses from new visitors is a key objective of most nonprofit homepages. The opportunity to capture this information should get the visibility it deserves, so put it “above the fold” and highlight it in some capacity, ensuring that it’s not likely to be missed by even the most cursory pass through the page.
2. Integrate with offline campaigns:
Use traditional direct marketing collateral to promote your website and the value to the visitor in sharing his or her email address. Even just a single sentence about the new information available on the website and how easy it is to sign up for electronic newsletters can help encourage offline donors to join the email housefile.
Use a special URL to track conversion from offline lists and to promote online engagement to traditionally offline constituents.
3. Leverage social media and social sharing opportunities:
Direct fundraising through social media may still be in its infancy, but using social platforms to engage and attract new constituents is now a tenet of basic fundraising. Your Facebook® page has great information about your mission, so use it to strike while the iron is hot and enable email capture directly from Facebook®. (Note: You’ll have better results if you enable the email capture on Facebook® itself as opposed to linking to a page on your own website).
Also, use the Facebook® social sharing widget, which allows constituents to post to Facebook® after taking an action through your website. Encouraging transactional sharing is effective because people are more likely to take an action themselves if referred by a trusted friend.
4. Ask for non-financial support:
Ask constituents to sign a pledge or take a related grassroots advocacy action. This is an easy way to lower barrier to entry, especially for constituents who may not be ready to contribute financially.
5. Use events to drive email acquisition:
Even if your organization isn’t using events as a primary fundraising tool, chances are you still host physical events throughout the year. Don’t miss the opportunity to ask attendees for their email addresses, along with select information that allows you to further identify their interest in your organization.
Just as there are lots of ways you can “get her number” (ask her directly, get it through her friends, look it up online, send her a note), some methods are easier and more successful than others. The same goes for building your housefile. Whether you’re asking for potential constituents’ email addresses through a form on your website or social media, the most important thing is that you ask. You can’t take that next step until you do
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