In 2007, I discovered that our nonprofit organization was doubling it’s online giving revenue each year with little effort to sustain the funding. The next year, we partnered with a online vendor (Blackbaud Luminate, formerly Convio) to create dynamic webpages and an email marketing program, along with social media and online advertising. Through these efforts and more, I’ve grown the online revenue from $150,000 to over $1.035 million a year.
Most of this work comes from a combination consistent, multi-channel messaging via email and social media, creating comprehensive campaign structures that include landing pages with goal tracking and engaging photo/video support, utilizing the power of social media volunteers, and initiating strategic digital advertising. Here are a few specific and creative fundraising efforts of note:
Holiday Meals Drive
The best time for a nonprofit organization to focus on fundraising is the holidays. My first holiday online appeal was as series of 3 emails that in 2011 that raised $350,000. Since then, this effort grew to a full-fledged campaign that raised aims to raise $485,000 this year. The components include:
- Landing page with impact statements, infographics, and goal thermometer
- Eight-week email series (one per week) rotating through campaign updates, stories, a staff greeting card, and letters from the CEO. (Read more in the Email Marketing section of my portfolio.)
- Incorporation of a corporate match for Giving Tuesday
- Digital advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Google AdWords/Interest Ads, Yahoo Gemini/Bing
- Establishing a hashtag and consistent messaging of the goal status
- Engaging the Social Media Ambassadors in campaign promotion
- Through our PR department, we also added regular radio spots, press releases, and print advertising
24-Hour New Media Telethon
In 2012, one of our Social Media Ambassadors approached us with the idea of a 24-hour live streaming digital fundraiser. He offered to host and to provide the streaming technology. We took care of the rest! The annual telethon now raises more than $50,000 and includes…
- Back-to-back interviews and entertainment with partners, volunteers, staff, and sponsors
- Heavy social media coverage and engagement of the Social Media Ambassadors
- Landing page, thermometer, email series, print and radio features, press release, photos and video
Get a behind-the-scenes peek of this event from my blog post: Twenty-four Little Hours
Facebook Voting Challenge
In 2011, a national brand launched a Facebook Voting Challenge for organizations to gather enough votes to win a grant. Only 40 out of 200 would be selected to receive $45,000 each. Votes could be cast daily. The “challenge” of this challenge was to keep our audience engaged for four weeks without tiring them of the message. I launched an email series and utilized fun memes to keep up the momentum. Results? We won!
This certainly may not seem as exciting as the efforts above, but it is an ultimate necessity. Digging into numbers is one of my favorite parts of developing strategy. Utilizing past results segmented into various sources, analyzing those verticals from year to year, identifying anomalies, and using platform trends, I plan, project, and track the annual online giving budget including revenue and expenses. The verticals include campaigns, sustaining giving, regional, virtual food drive, and search engines.
In fiscal year 13-14, the actual revenue of online giving was $1.035M. For FY1415, the projected budget is $1.080M.
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