Every year M+R Strategic Services and NTEN publish the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, which analyzes data from small, medium and large nonprofits in a range of sectors (including "rights"). This year’s report culls data on email messaging, online fundraising and advocacy, social media, and text messaging from 40 nonprofits. The Study also includes a helpful glossary of terms. You can download a copy of the 2011 study here (your name and email are required, but you can opt out of receiving emails from M+R and NTEN if you like). -M
M & R Strategic Services published a case study of Oxfam International's end-of-the-year online fundraising campaign: Weak Economy, Strong Campaign. While Oxfam's resources, even in lean years, are more than the typical legal aid organization, this case study outlines some best practices that organizations of any size can use in their fundraising campaigns.
- Focus on one major problem to let people know why they need to give to your organization now. This is different than reminding the community that your organization is a worthy cause. Your potential donors need to know why to support your organization instead of the many other worthy organizations that are also asking for money.
- Let people know what will happen if they don't give. Oxfam included language in their appeal that said, "If we don’t hit our goal, programs may be scaled back." Legal aid organizations are already scaling back. When you ask people for money, tell them that if they don't give, more programs may be scaled back, and how many more low-income individuals may not have access to lawyers.
- Test various messages to see which works best. Instead of just guessing what language will convince people to donate, test it and see what language actually works. (This is often called "split testing" or "A/B testing." ) You may be surprised.
- Start planning your campaign now. Don't wait until just before it needs to be implemented.
- Use a short video to appeal to emotion. According to M & R, "Make me laugh, make me cry, or go home."
For me, the most important point that this case study makes is "ask." Your donors are out there. You need to remind them why your organization is important and then ask for their help. - K
One of the best free resources available to nonprofit technologists is idealware, a site that provides informative reviews and comparisons of nonprofit software. Articles that may be of interest to folks in the legal aid community include:
- Donate Now: Selecting an Online Donation Tool
- Getting Started with Blogging Software
- A Few Good Low-Cost Constituent Databases
- A Few Good Email Newsletter Tools
- A Few Good Event Registration Tools
- Six Views of Project Management Software
- Grants Management Software: Survey Results and Analysis
- A Few Good Accounting Packages