Don’t Be a Digital Fundraising NOB

Here at Digital Ninjas I’m lucky to be working with a good […]

Here at Digital Ninjas I’m lucky to be working with a good selection of really amazing causes to help them accelerate their growth using digital as part of their fundraising mix.

I’ve been doing this for the last 10 years.

Throughout this time there are 3 common themes that stop organisations achieving their full potential when it comes to growth through digital. I call these the NOB factors, here’s a breakdown:

No Budget

This one is by far the most common.

So many people come to us and say they want to do digital but they just don’t have any budget available.

What about just doing the “organic stuff”, Facebook posts, SEO and so on? Either that or there’s a complete misconception that marketing/fundraising through digital is free or a cheaper alternative to other channels. Wrong.

Relying on organic reach from social posts is a thing of the past, don’t just take my word for it, try a quick Google Search for “Organic Social Reach”, and see what the big G spits out.

organic social reach
Ok, so we may have “tampered” with this screen shot slightly, just try Googling it for yourself and you’ll see we’re not far off the truth

Search Engine Optimisation, although a really nice way to gain a long-term competitive advantage, takes time and expertise, both technical expertise and content production expertise also cost.

If anything, digital will cost you MORE than some traditional channels but the upside should be a better quality, more engaged supporter.

If you want digital to work, then you need to invest in people, infrastructure, paid media and a carefully planned approach that includes a rigorous approach to testing and iterating based on what works.

To be clear this investment doesn’t need to be tens of thousands of dollars but you need to be prepared to invest something and move quickly based on what works for you – people and media will be your 2 biggest costs. Remember not to blow your budget on a snazzy new website – build it and they will come – is the single biggest mistake people across all industry sectors make.

If you have separate “fundraising” and “marketing” budgets – which is often the crazy reality we find ourselves in, make sure you consider how the two areas are likely to overlap in terms of serving your overall objectives.

The Google Grant is a really easy way to dip your toes in the water if you really haven’t got any budget – essentially $10k of free cash to spend with Google each month!

Other Priorities

People often want to be “seen” to doing something digital but don’t really have time to make it a focus.

This is fair, we’re all busy and we all want to do the best possible job that we can.

If digital is an after-thought in your organisation, your results will reflect this.

This point ties into budget, you need somebody internally to be the digital “champion” even if it’s not a full-time job to begin with you’ll need to invest in this individuals development so they know where to spend their time and energy for maximum impact.

For maximum success digital needs to be part and parcel of everything you do, digital channels touch an individual’s average day in multiple areas, don’t relegate truly understanding this shift in behaviour to only one junior member of the team.

Buy-In Fail

For digital to really work, you need the buy-in and long term commitment from senior stakeholders in your organisation.

Start with your Manager and Fundraising Director and then make sure the CEO understands clearly what you’re trying to achieve.

Make sure you set expectations clearly from the beginning.

Digital isn’t just a turn on the tap and watch the results flow in channel. It needs a long-term commitment to optimising, refining your investment and optimising some more. We’re talking months not days or weeks to really start scaling things.

Remember, you’re not trying to replace any existing marketing or fundraising activity, you should be looking to diversify your channel mix and reduce reliance on some of the more traditional channels.

Referencing reports like this from KPMG on how consumers are using digital can help you use hard data to generate the buy-in from senior decision makers and move things forward.

Another effective way to generate buy-in is to make sure you’ve nailed your reporting and tracking, so when people ask you “how the campaign went” you can show them the impact with hard data.