The Role of Online and New Media in Fundraising

In a previous post, I talked about the link between customer satisfaction and new media. The three-part study also looked at new media as it pertains to non-profits and cause-related marketing. It found that 60 percent of the 1,048 adults polled have used some form of online or new media to support a cause, primarily through email (33 percent), websites (29 percent) and social networks (27 percent). Some 79 percent of respondents believe companies and non-profits should use these channels to raise money and awareness for causes.

Here’s the disconnect: While online, cause-related marketing seems effective in building buzz and support, that’s not necessarily translating into donations. A majority 72 percent of the new media users polled said that online and new media channels raise their awareness about causes, but don’t motivate them to do more to help. Fewer than one-in-five respondents (18 percent) have actually made a donation through new media.

So, how can your non-profit bridge the gap and make new media a successful part of its fundraising efforts? Here are three tactics to help boost your organization’s bottom line:

Market Research
There are many non-profits that have been effective at raising money online for years – and are using new media programs as a continuation of those efforts. Look at one or two success stories. How are those groups getting through to their new media audience? What strategies are most effective in prompting donations? What are they doing to make it easy and compelling to donate?

Marketing Questionnaires
You can learn a lot about potential donors from your current ones. Email a few quick questions to your donor list to see which ones are active new media users and what platforms they participate in. Are there certain online communities, blogs and bulletin boards they prefer? These are good places to look for like-minded people – likely candidates to support your cause.

Member Surveys
Your members have their finger of the pulse of your industry or cause. They are involved, well-connected and willing to help. Why not survey them about best practices when it comes to new media? You never know what insight they might have to help move the needle from general awareness to financial support.
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