Friday, March 18, 2011

7 Principles for Building Better Relationships Online

Soulclap to Jocelyn Harmon & Katya Andresen for writing this article and publishing it on the Network For Good Learning Center.

It's not news that online giving is skyrocketing, but what really thrills us is all the different ways donors can give online now - websites, donation portals, social networks. There are so many options for donors now!

While all of these options are new and exciting, the reasons people give online are not that different from the reasons they give elsewhere. And just like offline, online relationships and the strength of those relationships will ultimately determine your success as a fundraiser.
Here are a few tips to help cultivate those relationships.

1. Be Interesting. Create great content. Think of new ways to tell your great stories, like using video instead of a written testimony. Try to inject humor if it's appropriate. Engage your supporters and create conversations. This should not be a one-way street.

2. Be Interested. In your supporters. Make sure their online experience is easy and built for them. Personalize and segment your communications. Don't send an email about volunteering for an event to a donor who lives in another state. Let them know you care about them and their lives.

3. Be Generous. Focus on what you give your supporters, not on what they give you. Give them the chance to do extraordinary good through your organization. Give them credit for the good that happens. Give them memorable stories about the difference they made.

4. Be Honest. Share both your successes and your failures. Make sure your financial records are easily accessible as well. Transparency should not just be a buzz word.

5. Be Clear. People need to know what to do when they get to your site. Make it easy for them to sign up for a newsletter or donate or contact you. Provide actual contact information and not just a contact form. Have a person outside the organization test your site to see if it's as easy to use as you think it is.

6. Be Brave. Try something new - whether it's a new fundraising campaign or experimenting with mobile giving. Be innovative. Don't be afraid to fail or put yourself out there.

7. Be Grateful. Say "Thank you." A lot. Call, write and email your donors. Find your champions and show them extreme love.

Finally, we want to share a very eye-opening statistic from the Network for Good and TrueSense Marketing Online Giving Study: Repeat giving by donors is 66.7% lower for generic non-branded donation pages than it is for those who have a clearly branded donation page. In other words, they may give once, but they aren't coming back.

When you give donors a sterile commercial transaction as part of the donation process, you take away the feeling that the donor is directly conversing with your organization and making a difference. This will diminish the effect you have on the donor and therefore, the amount you fundraise.

Donors need to feel closely tied to your organization and not feel like a walking ATM. Show who you are in your entire donation process to make the most of and further the relationship you have worked so hard to build.

Did you find any information in this blog post that you can put into action for your local BDPA chapter or other nonprofit organization?

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