Net2 Think Tank Round-up: Fundraising Lessons Learned

Amy Sample Ward
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This month's Net2 Think Tank asked for your lessons learned and favorite tips for online fundraising.  We know that for many venturing into the world of online fundraising can feel like going for a run with a blindfold on.  But, we also know that this community is full of smart, experienced folks who are always sharing their ideas, best practices, and feedback for the rest of us to learn from. This round-up has a few different examples to give you valuable advice and even get you think about your next online fundraising campaign.

Online Fundraising Lessons Round-UP:

Kivi Leroux Miller shares her recent charitiable donations in 10 Donations. 3 Thank-Yous. 7 Failures to Communicate.  She tracks ten donations and the responses she's received, and, as you can tell from the title of her post, it doesn't go too well.  Her focus: thank you letters.

Excuse or no excuse, these results, assuming they hold true throughout the sector (and other experiments say they do), are very bad news. How can nonprofits expect to thrive off the kindness of others, when the kindness of a simple thank-you note to an unsolicited donation is too much to ask? Of course, it’s great news to those of you who are doing thank-you notes, because it means you are head-and-shoulders above your peers! Read Kivi's full post.

Holly Ross and the NTEN team recently celebrated hitting their fundraising target for the 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference.  This is the second year they've held an online fundraising campaign for the conference scholarship fund and the second time they've met their goal.  Holly explains some of the main lessons they've learned in Why My Mom is My Fundraising Guru.

Flexibility was key to hitting our goal in 2009. We took several wrong turns and had to regroup and try again.  This isn't the old days of fundraising where you committed to a course of action, spent months preparing the mailing, sent the mailing, and then spent months getting the results back. In social media fundraising, you often know in just hours whether you're barking up the right tree. Iteration is the only way to succeed. Read Holly's full post.

JustGiving do a great job of sharing lessons, success stories, and valuable tips on their blog.  A prime example is St. Ann's Hospice's Social Media Strategy Leads to Success where they cover the full picture of an organization's online work (just what you were looking for, right?) - from flashmob to facebook and beyond!

What I should stress is that the tools used aren’t important per se, it’s what they’re used for. And they’ve been used extremely effectively here – creating a following, engaging with it, and getting people to act. Read JustGiving's full post.

Danielle Brigida, the Social Media and Outreach Coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation, explains that NWF is like most other organizations and still feeling things as things as they creep along. Her big tip, though, is to take advantage of what social media is really about: your community! "My big tip is to give people the power to fundraise for you. Social media has helped me realize the power of independent fundraising."  Want to learn more about what she means? Here are two great examples of fundraising efforts that happened because of passionate individuals, and not the organization: How a 4th Grade Class Made a Difference, and The Best Birthday Present Ever - Protected Wildlife.

Do you have an idea, lesson, or tip to share? Did you have a perfect blog post but forget to submit to this month's Net2 Think Tank? That's okay - just add your link or idea in the comments below!  And be sure to watch for next month's topic.

About Net2 Think Tank:

Net2 Think Tank is a monthly blogging event open to anyone and is a great way to participate in an exchange of ideas.  We post a question or topic to the NetSquared community and participants submit responses either on their own blogs or on the NetSquared Community Blog.  Tag your post with "net2thinktank" and email a link to us to be included. At the end of the month, the entries get pulled together in the Net2 Think Tank Round-Up.