March 9, 2011

How to connect online advocacy with fundraising

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John HaydonIf your nonprofit conducts advocacy campaigns, maybe you’ve had a difficult time understanding how those efforts might align with your fundraising efforts. It might be even more difficult if these two efforts are located in different branches of your organizational tree.

But like Karate and Judo, both advocacy and fundraising are simply different ways your constituents fight for your cause.

Advocates are seven times more likely to donate

A new report, Connecting Online Advocacy and Fundraising by Mark Davis of Blackbaud (with help from M+R Strategic Services and Amnesty International USA) outlines how advocacy and fundraising work together.

Included is research by M&R Strategies and Care2 that shows activists are seven times more likely to donate, compared with supporters who did not participate in an advocacy campaign. This confirms what we all already know in our hearts.

A few other takeaways from the report:

Advocacy appeals blow away fundraising appeals

These two graphs from the report says everything you need to know:

How to align online advocacy with fundraising

Mark also offers the following steps to create an advocacy-led fundraising campaign:

  1. Identify a timely issue
  2. Set a goal that uses the issue to move your mission forward
  3. Develop a campaign around the issue that uses emails, social media and your website
  4. Develop a calendar to schedule multiple messages to your constituents over several months
  5. Plan actions that move from easy to hard
  6. Show movement and success

A word of caution

One paragraph in the report made me bristle:

If your organization pursues online advocacy, you already have a lead-in to online fundraising; if not, you should explore other ways to connect online with your constituents. Why? Because key industry benchmarks and trends show that engagement online through advocacy is an effective springboard for raising money.

Maybe it’s the word “springboard,” but it should go without saying that advocacy is not simply a means to raise money. Your supporters always come first. They’re smart, and can sniff out the slightest insincerity in your relationship with them.

Download the report over at the Blackbaud blog.John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter or leave a comment.

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