How we attract more supporters online without alienating existing donors
Charities are struggling to develop and pursue digital agendas because of the nature of the digital world - extremely diverse and rapidly changing.
Organisations are faced with the dilemma of creating a new product that will build an immediate new group of donors, while maintaining a product to stay engaged with current donors who are often less digitally active. How can charities recruit new donors but not ‘forget’ about current supporters?
They should try to do both. Ideally, digital content should be produced and shared on as many digital platforms as possible. Intelligent tracking systems can help monitor who is sharing our content. Progress reports, annual reports and emergency appeals can all be produced digitally. We can engage with people through e-petitions and specific campaigns attached with specific campaign asks.
At Plan UK we have expertise on a range of issues, from gender to disasters and communications, and our digital strategy should channel that through blogs and articles written by staff. By demonstrating the expertise of our staff we can both target new donors (including corporates and statutory funds) and set ourselves aside from the crowded market. This will also enable us to engage a new group of individual donors who give a small amount of money. This framework can then be utilised to create a constituency of future long-term and more valuable givers, which is the aim of an effective fundraising strategy.
Print campaigns should not be stopped. Rather, we should reduce our print publications and cut costs by switching as much as we can to digital. That enables us to operate more efficiently and still service our less digitally-active supporters and some corporate sponsors who still rely/expect paper campaigns and updates for information.
Charities have the difficulty of engaging digitally with potential supporters, being digitally versatile and accessible beyond websites, and continuing to engage with existing supporters.