Better Stewardship Through Technology

Communicating the needs of your organization requires an outlay of resources, no matter how you slice it. But it is important to be a good steward of your money, time and other resources as you spread the word about your mission. Here are some ideas for utilizing new technology to minimize your financial commitment and communicate just as effectively (if not more so). Harness the power of email 33% of online giving is traced to email. (Information regarding offline donations is not available, since it is impossible to accurately track). Email can be a formidable tool in communicating with a large number of people quickly and efficiently.

If you haven’t waded into this avenue for communicating with current donors (and potential new ones), you will want to experiment with different formats and messages, until you find the one that is right for you. Pay attention to the emails you are getting from others with a similar mission and observe what you like. Not only is email an excellent way to communicate more cost-effectively, it is also a great way to keep your donors engaged with the work you’re doing. Whether it’s a monthly newsletter, spotlight or profile, a weekly story, or something specific to your organization, email will allow those who care about your mission to stay abreast of what you’re doing with their money, from wherever they are.

Get Social
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube are great ways to engage with many different demographics of people at once. Consider these statistics on social media use:

72% of adults who use the internet participate in an online social network.

  • 43% of 65+ people.
  • 60% of 50-64 year olds.
  • 78% of 30-49 year olds.
  • 89% of 18-29 year olds.

67% of adult internet users say that they use Facebook.

40% of cell phone users say that they use a social networking site on their phone.

Far from being a pastime of the young, these numbers suggest that social media use is high in all demographics. Social media is an inexpensive way to connect meaningfully with the donors of today, as well as those who will be choosing to give in the future.

Additionally, 67% of online giving is traced to peer referrals, social media and unsolicited web giving. Not only can you tell the story of your organization, but that story can be easily shared, re-told and encouraged by those using a social media platform.

Giving through social media is growing. In 2010, the average donation through social media was $38. In 2012, that number had grown to $59. It is estimated that the average value of a Facebook “like” for a nonprofit is $161.30 over a twelve-month period.

When balancing your budget and planning how to use your money, every little bit helps. Your entire budget will likely not be raised using online means. However, growth in this sector has been consistent, and should not be ignored. As donors become more accustomed to making gifts as a result of an online or email campaign, using your mobile-friendly website, or giving page, they may find the convenience and flexibility are a great fit with their lives. When the cost of raising a dollar through a new donor can be as much as $1.25 through direct mail, more than $0.63 through telemarketing, but as little as $0.05 through online means, your budget may find online communication tools to be a great fit with your organization.

[sources: Pew Research Center, 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, MDG Advertising]

Published originally at ECFA.