Brian Gawor, CFRE, is a former annual fund and major gift professional who now focuses on research and benchmarking to drive fundraising strategy. He is also a doctoral student studying higher education giving.
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It’s that time of year when our streets will be filled with vampires, scary clowns, and Pokemon Trainers. Unfortunately, our fundraising offices might also be filling up with zombies.
Don’t be afraid of digital fundraising, it helps you reach donors in channels they use every day.
What do I mean? When we hit the road to talk with fundraisers about emerging digital fundraising strategies, we heard this:
“Yeah, I know that I need to get on that digital thing, but I’ll work on it next year.”
“My VP went to a conference and says I need to ‘go digital’, but I don’t know enough. I’m paralyzed.”
“We’re afraid to change our strategy, even though our appeal results are declining.”
Out of tradition, fear, or lack of knowledge, many fundraisers are just repeating their traditional strategies like zombies.
Higher education fundraising has been very slow to adopt emerging digital fundraising tactics. A recent benchmarking study told us that top charities are spending 12 cents per dollar raised on digital advertising, while education fundraisers are spending just three cents. Given how much time our donors spend online, we need to get out of our zombie trance.
Here are three zombie-killer strategies you can adopt immediately to engage donors and enhance your appeals:
The University of Northern Iowa had significant success with the digital fundraising pilot. Read the case study.
Targeted Digital Advertising: You see these ads every day on web pages you visit and social media. This technology allows you to target specific segments of supporters before and during your appeal cycle to increase brand awareness, drive supporters directly to your giving or event page, and boost response to other channels such phone, email, and direct mail. Check out how RNL’s Digital Dialogue approach increased response and average gift at the University of Northern Iowa in our recent digital fundraising pilot.
Retargeting: 92% of fundraisers tell us that they do not know how many people go to their giving pages each year but do not actually complete a gift. Known as “cart abandonment” in the commercial world, this could be the number one source of ready givers to your organization. You’re already seeing retargeting ads every day from Amazon and other retailers. Retargeting captures the identity of these “almost donors” and serves up communications to bring them back to your page and complete a gift.
Geo-Location (or Geo-Targeting) allows you to push digital fundraising messages to prospects based on their location.
Geo-Location: Using the incredible (and largely untapped) power of mobile technology, this strategy lets you put a “fence” around a specific area and target mobile users who are there at a specific time. Imagine sending targeted advertising to people attending your Homecoming, big game, or pushing special event or crowdfunding invitations to people in a specific geographic area. The possibilities are endless.
RNL has developed a new suite of easy to implement digital products that work for organizations of all sizes. These tactics compliment growing crowdfunding and Give Day platforms and can help boost your traditional appeals.
Talk to us about using digital fundraising to engage donors
Don’t be a fundraising zombie. It’s time to meet donors at full speed, and where they spend their time. Adding a digital boost to your appeals can greatly increase your results. With our RNL Digital Dialogue, you can connect with the BILLIONS of users on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Instagram, and the myriad of websites they use every day.
Contact us today for a free Digital Dialogue scorecard to see where you can employ these and other emerging digital technologies to engage 21st century donors.