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3 ways to turn an activist into a donor



There is no question that advocacy is here to stay. But, can advocacy help with fundraising? People willing to advocate on behalf of a cause are usually willing to support it by reaching for their wallets.

According to Christine Schaefer, vice president of community and marketing for Salsa Labs in Washington, D.C., knowing the best way to make that connection is the key to a successful multi-tiered fundraising campaign.

1) Build your online advocacy program and identify your targets: In a tech-savvy world with millions of issues vying for public attention, if you aren’t integrating your off-line strategy with the right online tools, you’re missing out on big support. A nonprofit needs to be able to connect with its supporters online and know who will take action.

Database segmentation is critical to knowing the difference between the individuals who will only be interested in your cause and those that will take action. This is a key step to be able to move toward raising money.

2) Optimize the ask: Think about all of the messages you receive every day via email, the Web, Twitter, and so on and then think about those that make you do something. There aren’t too many, correct? Those that inspire action are rare and typically speak to your emotions at a critical time.

Effective persuasion is contingent on three key factors: the right message, the right time and the right people. If an issue is relevant and timely to your supporter, the person is more likely to become a donor.

3) So where are the donations?: Be sure to capture potential donors as soon as they act. Organizations should always follow up on the call to action with a simple message saying “thank you” and remind supporters of the mission and how their actions will directly contribute to the cause. Don’t forget to include a donate button in the follow-up appeal.

Online advocacy can be an effective way to grow your supporter list and donor pool. Advocacy starts the conversation. But, keep in mind it won’t be an overnight transformation. It’s a long-term investment to build true advocates.