I had the incredible opportunity to talk with a few online fundraising experts. Through our discussion they laid out for me some of the major mistakes that they see nonprofits making in their online fundraising campaigns. Thank you Sarah Hoddinott, from Advanced Solutions International, and Shane Davis, from Artez Interactive, for you expertise and input. Below I have included what they described for me as the seven deadly sins made with peer-to-peer fundraising.
- Forgetting your demographic. Who supports your organization is it alumni or past patients? If you have a strong group that things already work with build on it. Don’t think that people will come just because you built something, build a system that complements what you are already doing.
- No call to action. Donors need to be asked you can’t assume that people will respond the way you want them to if you do not ask. Don’t create a great message and have no way for people to respond to it.
- Losing the key message. Campaigns need to be designed with simplicity in mind – don’t make it confusing; preserve the “click path” for donors. When creating your message don’t try and be everything to all people. Your organization can do some things really well but can’t do everything.
- Lack of creativity. Don’t be afraid to try something new even if it doesn’t work. Great campaigns come from great ideas.
- Peer-to-peer happening only online. Peer-to-peer fundraising encompasses all of the ways in which people leverage their personal networks for philanthropy. Make sure to integrate your online and offline campaigns.
- No building on past success. Make sure to talk to you’re your top fundraisers. Ask them what worked and what didn’t work and thank them. Pull together focus groups around what made your campaign successful. Feedback is crucial from connectors and first-time donors; reward programs are can play a key role in dealing with the 20% of people who indirectly generate 80% of donations.
- Fixing things that aren’t broken. Switching technology is costly and time consuming, and should only be done if the new technology adopted is really going to make an impact beyond novelty.