When you are a small organisation with limited resources the last thing you want to do with your precious funds is to spend them on marketing. But without paying for marketing how do you attract more supporters and more funds? As I mentioned in my Donations The Basics post, Digital marketing is a way of building up your profile with an almost zero budget. If you are smart a small organisation can compete with the biggest all over the World and in the eyes of many supporters small is beautiful.
Ok I know it is difficult to convert Facebook fans and web browsers into actual supporters but it can be done, unfortunately the main investment is time and you do need to burn the midnight oil to make this strategy work or find a trusted person with the skills needed to help you.
A well-structured web site can be a window into the activities of your organisation. A golden rule regarding web sites is to be clear about what its function is. Do you want it to inform, to educate or raise funds? If you are a small organisation I would suggest the following strategy;
- that your website is your fund-raising tool
- your blog site is your informer and educator
- and your social networking sites are your recruiting tools
THE WEB SITE
Your website does not have to be clever or flashy, what it does have to do is get readers attention quickly and convince them to make a contribution to your cause. I think that to achieve this a little goes along way. Rather than provide lots of information about your organisation and your objectives on the landing page (the page where people will normally enter the site) much of this area should be reserved for your strongest and most newsworthy activity and it must be up to date. If you think of your web site as an alternative for an expensive advert in a newspaper or TV then you will be working on the right lines. In the few moments your visitors are on your site you have to convince them to join your cause. Hopefully you have piqued their interest already through effective use of your social media sites or your blog if you have one.
The last point is to keep your web site as fast as possible, people have a very short attention span and if a page takes too long to load they may not wait to see the message! There are lots of sites on the internet that will tell you how to keep your site fast but a simple rule is KISS “Keep It Simple Stupid”. A simple lay out, minimal clever graphics, low memory usage pictures but of high quality in terms of message and a clear honest and compelling narrative will win over the hearts of your potential supporters. And if you have the hearts the support will follow.
To make the best use of your web site;
- Be clear about your web sites purpose (write a note on your monitor to remind yourself)
- Concentrate a large part of your landing page on your latest/strongest activities
- Keep the site clean, simple and fast
- Use tools like Google Analytics to see how you are doing allowing you to fine tune the site.
SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
You can have 2000 Facebook fans but how many of them are going to support you? Once again it is down to how you motivate your “friends” to be more than just well-wishers. Apart from recruiting supporters social media sites can provide a fantastic source of people who if not willing or able to support you financially can provide services in other ways. For instance if you hear of a welfare case miles from your location a social media supporter may be able to go for you and check out the situation, providing pictures and other necessary information that will allow you to decide if you need to spend resources acting on the problem yourself. The act of doing this may start a small active group of supporters in that area which grows all on its own. That’s the beauty of social media, it is driven by what people are interested in and if you can provide a spark that inflames their interest then they will be more likely to want to know more about you and become a supporter.
To get the best out of your Social Media Sites
- Update with interesting, heart-breaking, funny, challenging stories
- Invite users to contribute in interesting ways
- Keep referring users to your web site
The Blog Site
Well here you are reading my blog site, I think the concept of blog sites are great and a tool that many fundraisers ignore. The great thing about blog sites is that you can provide the detail that should not be on your web site and you can get feedback from your supporters. Again blogs need to be concise, informative and to the point as sometimes readers want to get the information they need quickly and do not want to go through pages of your musings. I tend to put a list of bullet points after each main subject point
The blog site is a great way to get the ethos of what you are doing out and to hopefully win over new supporters by persuasion rather than by hard-hitting appeals. Very often a supporter recruited this way will be a supporter for life.
So the use of Blog sites is to
- Provide a resource for more detailed analysis of your project
- Provide an avenue for feedback
- To recruit long-term supporters to your cause
- Keep referring users to your web site
OK again this only covers the basics of Digital marketing but this is a blog site, if you want to know more on any of the aspects or something I haven’t covered just ask and I will write about it
In Digital Marketing Part Two I will be covering the use of Email and other digital methods of reaching potential supporters.