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The Network - August 2010
Take the First Step to Engaging Members in New Ways
On a recent ICL audio conference, the leader of a grassroots environmental organization lamented the quandary many small groups find themselves in. While the growth of online tools and social networking sites have created many opportunities for engaging people in their work—and some groups are using them with great success—the opportunities have also made things more complicated.
“A lot of information about online tools is confusing and contradictory,” said one exasperated executive director on the audio conference. She even cited ICL’s recent Reality Check article which highlighted two organizations that had different experiences using Facebook as a way to connect with people. “We’re a small organization so investing time and money takes serious consideration,” she continued. “Some of our board members are unfamiliar with online tools and social networking, so it takes a lot of education to make informed decisions that everyone’s comfortable with.”
Organizations face new choices, but the old rules still apply. Finding a variety of ways to engage your members, volunteers, and donors will reap the greatest impact. Our best advice, based on our experience with hundreds of small- to mid-sized environmental and conservation organizations every year, can be summed up in the following three rules.
1. Communicate with people regularly and in different ways.
2. Tie your online engagement strategy to your strategic priorities.
3. Start where you are at and plan for the long-term.
Read the rest of the article here.
5 Tips to Ramp Up Your Online Fundraising
Not sure what to do about online fundraising? Use our tips below to figure out what steps to take in finding online fundraising success. For more tips to help you weed through some of the more popular strategies, see ICL’s free report, Reality Check: How Grassroots Environmental Organizations Are (or Are Not) Raising Money Online.
1. Treat your email list as King. Email addresses have the most value to you in online fundraising. Use every opportunity to collect them and utilize many different collection methods. Some examples include petitions, pledges, surveys, downloadable materials, eNewsletters, and a sign-up box on your web site home page.
2. Make sure your website is attractive and easy to navigate. Convio reported in 2009 that 61% of donors visit a nonprofit’s website before giving them any money. In this age, your website is a testimony about your organization’s capacity – its image, focus, and who is involved. A functional and good looking site has a direct effect on offline contributions. If you can add a donate button, online contributions can be supported too.
Get the rest of the tips.