OkTECHberfest: 5 Tips for using Technology in Fundraising
Let's start with a question. When asked to support a group or a cause, what is the first thing you do when deciding whether or not to donate? You'll probably start by performing a Google search to find information about them. Now, let's turn the tables and consider what most of your donors will do when deciding whether to support you. You guessed, it: they'll probably do a Google search! This tells us that the internet is becoming the most important tool that someone can use to grow an audience and seek financial support. Here are some tips and tools for using technology to your advantage when fundraising.
- Your website will be the most valuable tool in your toolbox. It is the only place where donors will find information exclusively about you and your work. It should be pleasing to the eye, but simple so that anyone navigating your website can easily find the information they need. Your website should include your brand, your mission statement, your contact information, and links to your various social media pages. Most importantly, it should contain clear instructions for how to donate. Don't bury your donate button. The option to donate should be apparent at the top of your home page, meaning your donors should not need to scroll or click more than 2-3 times in order to donate to your cause. If they need to scroll or click much more than that, you run the risk of loosing them before they even make the contribution.
- Use social media. Facebook is not just for college students anymore. The fastest growing demographic on social media right now is people over 50, so you want to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other forms of social media to your advantage. Not only should you share information and photos about your own work and fundraising initiatives on social media, but you should use it to connect to other artists and arts organizations. One of the most valuable relationships you could create is one with a similar group who can advocate for your project and help promote your cause to their own followers. You should follow, re-post, re-pin, like, re-tweet, and just generally show support for these other groups and they will hopefully return the favor.
- Write blog posts. Keeping a blog is a great way to keep your audience up to date on your activities, accomplishments, and goals. You might also consider asking another blogger to post about your project's activities. This can be especially helpful if you're coming upon a time sensitive fundraising push or running a campaign. Not only are you getting publicity with that blogger's audience, but you're also increasing the number of Google hits your project will receive. Remember to be be polite though, and offer to return the favor.
- Send out an online newsletter. Newsletters are another great way to provide updates in order to keep an informed audience. You'll want to get email addresses as much as possible so you can send this newsletter to all of your donors, audience members, and anyone else who has an interest in your work. You can collect email addresses in-person, when selling admission to events online, and on your website. Be careful not to become spammy, though. Make sure your newsletters are fresh, methodical, and that they share new information and updates for the reader.
- Track your correspondences and revise your methods as necessary. Everyone has a preferred method of correspondence,and you'll likely notice that one is more effective for one donor while that same method may not work so well for another donor. Use donor management software like Artful.ly to keep track of the most effective ways to contact your donors based on their past responsiveness. With this information saved all in one place, you'll be able to employ more targeted and efficient methods to reach out to your audience.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that information about you should be easy to find. Make sure you have a wide web presence so that interested individuals can seamlessly become your donors simply by having the information they seek at their fingertips.
As always, remember to say thank you!