Tachlis: Putting Online Fundraising Research to Work

It’s been over a year since we first wrote about the ground-breaking research on the affluent and how they utilize the Internet to make donations. Now, Mikaela King and Nancy Withbroe, CFRE with CDR Fundraising Group have created a whitepaper around their experience putting the findings to work:

“Can online marketers and major donor officers find mutually-beneficial ways of integrating their expertise? Can we get along? Absolutely! And in reality, we must. The Wired Wealthy study by Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research, which came out last year, shows us that major donors are already online in a significant way, and unfortunately, most nonprofits aren’t doing a very good job of communicating to them through this medium.

The Wired Wealthy study surfaced quite a bit of useful information about major donors and their online behavior. Roughly two-thirds check out an organization’s web site before making a gift, they expect fresh and engaging content geared towards their interests and preferences, they expect a smooth, simple donation progress and want a year-end tax receipt emailed to them.

Major donors want accountability, reassurance that their philanthropic investment will have a measurable and significant impact, easy-to-find information, and access – to organizational leaders, their programs and plans, and metrics of effectiveness and success.

So what are some ways we can use the online experience to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward existing and prospective major donors? Here are some ideas:

  • Ask for large gifts online.
  • Don’t just ask for large gifts – explain the need for them and the impact they’ll have.
  • Create a section of your web site or a micro site specifically targeted to major donors.
  • Provide program reports and update them monthly.
  • Post interactive content.
  • Create a special email “stationary”.
  • Acknowledge people who have already made significant gifts to your organization.

Your major donors are already on your web site, looking for reasons to engage with your mission and support your cause. By combining each discipline’s expertise, tools and best practices, online marketers and major gifts officers can create meaningful conversations with major donors online, deepening those relationships and providing opportunities for more significant giving to support your mission.”

Read more about this topic in CDR Fundraising Group’s whitepaper, “Raise Big Money From Thousands of Your Closest Friends: Engaging Major Donors Online,” by Mikaela King and Nancy Withbroe.