New to Nonprofit Online Communication? 5 Building Blocks for Nonprofit Campaign Success

When it comes to planning and executing a successful advocacy or fundraising campaign online, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. By using these five tried and true campaign building blocks, you can lay the foundation for your next online campaign and start to see your efforts pay off.

1. Foresight can be 20/20

Taking the time to plan carefully, anticipate challenges, target your audience, and set measurable goals will affect your end campaign results significantly. Take advantage of the early planning phase to craft a realistic timeline, define roles and responsibilities, and set at least one SMART goal – one that is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. Some of the questions to ask yourself at this stage include: Who will be receiving your campaign communications? What specific action do you want them to take? What’s your main campaign goal, financial or otherwise?

2. Brand, Brand, Repeat

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a recognizable brand can be the difference between success and failure in the world of online campaigning. Branding is no longer reserved for the for-profit sector – it has become a vital element of building a nonprofit presence online, and is especially important when launching a new campaign. In order to consistently brand your campaign, be sure to use your logo and brand colors across all channels: web, email, social, and direct mail. Similarly, employ a consistent ask and messaging strategy across channels and don’t be afraid of repeating yourself. Let your message sink in!

3. Tailor Your Email Messages

When it comes to email, it’s best to keep the content simple, using a personal tone and including one clear call to action. Rather than using an anonymous institutional voice, send emails from a person to whom your audience can relate, such as a satisfied client, volunteer or a mid-level staff member. The more you can tailor your message to your specific audience the better. Ideally, you’ve already been cultivating a relationship with your target audience and have established a sense of trust. Be sure an appeal for money isn’t the first message they receive from you. Also, communicate campaign progress to give your supporters a sense of ownership and investment in the outcome. Try incorporating a progress meter on your campaign landing page and send progress updates to your audience.

4. Get (Strategically) Social

Successful campaigns leverage the enthusiasm of existing online communities – they lend a personal component to any online campaign and can attract new subscribers. Their interactive elements invite direct feedback from your readers, spark discussion, and let your audience feel more connected to your organization and cause. Focus and consistency are the keys to social media success. Choose the 1-2 social networks that are most relevant to your audience. Be honest -can they be consistently and enthusiastically maintained? Building an audience takes time and commitment, but can be well worth the effort.

5. Go Big Or Go Home

While setting and achieving campaign goals is exciting, building for the long term is what will make future campaigns even more successful. It is important to continuously cultivate and nurture relationships with your online supporters. Be sure to communicate your gratitude and campaign success to your entire community. It is also important to track open rates, unsubscribes, and contributions to identify trends and learn what’s working with your audience and what might need refining. Take the time post-campaign to get to know your activists and donors better through surveys and focus groups. The better you know your audience, the more likely you will be able to engage them in meaningful ways in the future.

Do you have other building blocks for nonprofit campaign success? Share them in the comments below!

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