How to Use E-Tools to Build and Maintain Relationships for Your Nonprofit
Nonprofit fundraising is about building relationships with people. Individual donors want to feel that they’re appreciated. E-mail and other web-based tools can help.
It’s in a nonprofit’s best interest to thank donors regularly and keep them informed about what the organization is doing. It can’t hurt to get to know the people who give money to your nonprofit, either. Here’s where the Internet can be of help.
The most frequently used feature of the Internet is e-mail. It’s easy to use, you don’t need the latest hotrod computer to use it, and it’s cheap and fast. Many nonprofit organizations produce monthly (or more frequent) online newsletters about their work. Distributing these bulletins to donors is a great way to keep them informed about how their contributions are making a difference.
So, you want to obtain an organization e-mail account and address that allows people to contact you (and allows you to build an online mailing list). You can use e-mail messages to compel readers to click through to your website where they can find out how to contribute to your organization and read more about it.
Related online tools you want to have at hand include the following:
A website: Your site should have clear, timely information about your organization, a Contact us option linked to your e-mail address, and a click-through feature that allows website visitors to make contributions online.
A brief electronic newsletter: This e-newsletter about your organization’s work should feature an intriguing subject line and be highly readable. Imagine your typical reader: If she opens it, she’ll scroll through it quickly. You want to write an inviting sentence or two about each topic, inviting that reader to click through to your organization’s website and read more about it (noticing the donate button while she’s there).
An organization blog: Blogs are great for inviting comments and feedback or group discussion lists (or listservs). Both tools are available for free at a number of websites.
A social marketing site: Social marketing options include Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. These social networking tools remind people of your organization and urge them to take action on your behalf.
E-mail correspondence can be less formal than typed-on-paper business letters, but it shouldn’t be overly familiar. Answer questions succinctly — don’t ramble on and on. It’s a good idea to have a short paragraph description about your organization already written and waiting to be cut and pasted into your e-mails. It can be added to and edited as needed.