Knowledge Base - Success Key #6: managing and optimizing your campaign
  1. Optimize your campaign page key-words to capture organic search traffic: users searching for relevant terms on search engines, such as Google, might land on your page if it appears in relevant positions on organic (natural, not paid) search results. Since various different nonprofit organizations fundraise through give2gether's platform, search engines recognize its domain as relevant for fundraising-related terms. It is vitally important to pinpoint the most accurate, descriptive terms that are relevant for your cause and target it on the campaign page's content. For example, if you are an organization assisting women deal with the psychological effects of breast cancer, putting general words such as "cancer" and "distress" will not assist you. You should target specific terms such as "breast cancer psychological distress" or "how to mentally cope with breast cancer". Targeting specific keyword strings, even if it has low search volumes, increases your chances to rank on search engines for those terms and to target highly relevant potential supporters.
  2. Treat each fundraising campaign as a business project: people tend to be more attentive when they hear about current, specific pains or disasters. Launching one fundraising campaign after another while leveraging the same general cause is less effective. Each online fundraising campaign should be unique: just as an example, one time you need a certain amount to buy a new truck for distributing food to homeless people and another time you need additional funds to buy 10,000 food packages.,. Publish the distribution of costs within this specific "project" on your campaign page. Treat it as a business goal in the sense that it is clear, transparent, and measurable.
  3. Test and re-test your campaign page and message's look & feel: create a "mini focus group", made up of colleagues, friends and family. Make it as heterogeneous as possible in order to get many different angles and views as possible. You'll be surprised to hear that things which seem obvious to you are unclear to first-time visitors. Ask them guiding questions: what do they think about the content, the pictures, call to action, invitation letters? What did they like most? What would they do differently? This is a great, cost-effective way to adapt and optimize your message and campaign page. 
  4. Set clear goals in term of donation amount and time: it is important to define clear and real goals for your campaigns' project (see article # 3). It is important because it adds to the overall sense of transparency, which is a pillar of success in online fundraising, and because above all, fundraising is a social issue. As such, people are interested to know how much was raised to date, the potential impact of their contribution, the time frame for donation and why, the highest donation amount, and so forth. Ultimately, setting goals enable potential donors to feel a viable participant. This is, as a nonprofit organization, exactly what you want them to feel.
  5. Optimize the subject line of invitation letters: invitation letters being sent out to existing supporters and donors are very important in order to kick start the fundraising campaign. The subject line of the invitation email is critical in that sense. It will affect opening ratios of the email, which is number one goal when sending mass emails, and it will affect the readers' attitude, which is of equal importance. Writing a good and effective subject line is not a simple task: it has to be short and clear, yet compelling and inspiring, with a sense of urgency. The best advice is to test several approaches on smaller groups of donors, see which version is the most successful and then send it out to your entire list of supporters.
  6. Share the progress of your online campaign with your Facebook fans: keep fans and supporters engaged with weekly posts of the campaign's progress; Update your page every time a substantial contribution is made; Initiate contests among your fans that involve creativity and fun. Don't "force" them to take active participation. The main goal is to create a buzz for your campaign and keep it in people's minds.
  7. Tweet & Blog: share your personal angle in regard to fundraising and day-to-day experiences. Do not attempt to embed marketing/ pledges within your twits or blog posts. These will be immediately identified by followers and readers as "commercial" or biased. Simply share your true personal thoughts and experiences periodically. If it is interesting, authentic and fresh enough, your community will grow and a positive side-effect effect of it will be having them exposed to your organization's fundraising campaign. Donate your email signature to help spread the word about your campaign. Add a simple signature badge to your webmail (gmail/AOL/Yahoo).  
  8. Thank each and every donor, preferably in person: every donor is someone who cares and takes action. Thus, aside of the fact that thanking donors is honorable and justified; it can be a great way to turn donors into active champions of your organization and cause. Beware of automated, general thank-you letters. People can spot these from miles away and in some cases it can cause more damage then not sending a thank you letter at all.
  9. Track and analyze your campaigns' results: the beautiful thing about the online arena is that everything is measurable. You can track and analyze your key success factors (KPIs), such as: number of daily donors, conversion rate from visits to donors and from donors to champions, distribution of donors across your campaigns traffic sources, geographical and regional distribution of donors, new vs. returning and many more. Don't try to track and analyze everything! Focus on the main metrics that you can control and optimize. For example, if you recognize that high percentage of visitors become activists through a certain traffic source, say a You Tube video - analyze it thoroughly. What is it about this video that turns a high portion of visitors to activists? Maybe you should create more videos with the same message? Maybe you can further distribute this video to get more views: embed it on your site, campaign page, blog, etc. There are numerous actions to take following analysis of the data and gathering insights. You don't have to be a Web analyst to do it!
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