Building a solid project presence is the key to successful donation acquisition on betterplace.org. This second step focuses on how to pump life into your project site. We provide a few tips on how best to build a network, motivate your contacts to donate, and provide up-to-date information to those interested in your project.
1. Activating Your Network
What good is a lot of time spent registering your project on betterplace.org if no one can find it? You’ve gotta get the word out! The more people who hear about what you’re doing, the more support you’ll receive. Let your creativity be boundless when establishing your contacts. The following list serves only as a suggestion.
Friends and Acquaintances
Building a network should begin with your own acquaintances. No one trusts you more than your friends and family. And establishing this group of supporters and advocates for your project is a quick way to show outsiders that your work has clout and can be trusted. You should encourage those who have visited your project site to report their impressions over your project site. By doing this, you weave a Web of Trust – the more positive voices who value your project, the more convinced other potential supporters will be. Encourage your friends to spread the news and to put in a good word about your project among their own networks.
Those who have given in the past are potential supporters for your project in the future. They are therefore an important group for you to keep your eye on. You should convey to them how much you value their support and send regular updates on the progress of your projects. Sending a birthday or Christmas greeting can go a long way. This extra bit of effort increases the likelihood that supporters will not only support your next project, but will also recommend it to others.
A simple email sent around about your betterplace.org project can do wonders. Once you’ve written the text, you can send it to everyone in your address book. Ask the recipients to forward your email to their own contacts. Even if every tenth person follows through, the snowball effect multiplies your action manifold. Tip: Take care that your personal emails are stylistically different than the automated news messages that you regularly send your donors from betterplace.org.
Your email signature contains a bite-sized bundle of your most important information: your name, address, contact information… AND a link to your project on betterplace.org! Promote your project with every personal or business email. For example, your tagline “It’s Christmas time for Feet!” links at the bottom of your email to your betterplace.org project, which provides new shoes for disadvantaged children at Christmas. Or a link from “Better Money!” shows the way to your project site on betterplace.org.
If your organisation regularly sends out a newsletter, don’t forget to include an announcement about your betterplace.org project. Since recipients of your newsletter are already familiar with your work, you can expect many of them to visit your new project site. You should also be sure to describe frequent updates from your betterplace.org projects in your newsletter. Be sure to link to your project site so that interested supporters won’t have to wade through all the other good stuff on betterplace.org to find it.
Your own Homepage
Having your own homepage is a lot of work but is an essential component of good communication in the social sector. The details of your work and projects don’t all fit on the betterplace.org site? Then maybe having your own homepage is a way to publish additional information. Integrate the betterplace.org donation or project widgets onto your homepage. With a single click, a supporter lands is guided through the payment process.
Does your organisation already have a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page? You can link to these from your betterplace.org project. If you are not yet active with these new social media, we suggest trying them out for your organisation. You are certain to attract new target groups.
On Twitter, you can regularly update contacts about the progress of your projects. A twitter-update is maximum 140 characters. Your contacts can sign up to receive your twitternews (tweets) via twitter, email, or mobile telephone.
Organisationen haben die Möglichkeit, bei facebook eine Seite einzurichten und Interessenten (Fans) zu gewinnen. Viele Funktionen sind ähnlich wie bei einem facebook-Nutzerprofil. Sie können von Projektneuigkeiten berichten, Fotos einstellen
und Ihre Fans auf dem Laufenden halten. Freunde Ihrer Fans erhalten ebenfalls den Vorschlag, sich Ihr Projekt anzusehen – wie auch bei twitter besteht virales Verbreitungspotential .
Whether it’s at flea-markets, concerts or readings, there are lots of opportunities to draw attention to your betterplace.org project outside of the World Wide Web. Personal contact with donors not only fosters their confidence in your work, but also provides you with a clear impression of your target group.
Gathering a team of supporters together on betterplace.org is an innovative way to receive a big amount of donations in a small amount of time. Get your creative juices flowing: find friends who want to run a marathon together and who, for each kilometre want to donate a specific amount to your project. Encourage donors to form gambling-pool for the next big Football match and donate the winnings to your project. Collaborate with eBay sellers to give a portion of their auction proceeds to your project. Or if you have several projects on betterplace.org, found your own team, represented by your organisation. Members can put money into the pot, which you now and then empty into one of your projects. Fur further suggestions, look at our special Team Guidebook under http://download.betterplace-lab.org/teamtips_en.pdf
A prominent advocate raises instant credibility for you and your project. If possible, get in touch with well-known people and try to convince them to adopt your project. The arrangement benefits both parties: your advocate gains public attention for her engagement in social endeavours and you win new PR and Marketing opportunities for your work. Even more important, though, is that it increases the effectiveness of your work and makes the world a better place. Believe in yourself—you have nothing to hide and just as little to lose!
2. Maintaining Your Network
To keep your supporters interested in your work, be sure to update your project site often. Here are some tips for keeping your project current:
Posting blog entries informs readers about the progress, as well as the problems, that you are experiencing in your work. In this way, you maintain direct contact with your donors. Convey your gratitude for the donations raised and clearly describe the concrete difference their support is making. Important: nothing beats transparency! Problems and challenges in your project must be openly presented; withholding information is unprofessional and decreases supporter confidence. If you have other blogs elsewhere on the Internet, consider how to maintain the most efficient representation of your project. Check if and how your texts are most used and thereby avoid unnecessary work.
Photos convey information and emotions. The more often you post new photos, the better your supporters can imagine your project on-site as well as see the effects of their help. When your projects are concluded, you can tangibly document the results of donations and thereby win the trust of your donors. Show those photos that clearly depict you, the project manager, as well as those taken of the people/communities who are benefiting from your work. Post photos both in your blog and in the project photos section.
Do you already have films or short videos about your organisation or project? If not, at the next opportunity, consider filming the work taking place on-site or the show the current reality, which you hope to make better through your work. Nowadays, almost all digital cameras and most mobile phones offer a video function. The quality of a short film isn’t so important as long as the meaningful content can be conveyed. Upload your videos finally to YouTube and link to them from your project blog. Videos are a very visual, trustworthy and convincing method the show and ask for the concrete needs for your project. Or use videos to film fulfilled needs and thank your donors! A study done at betterplace.org has shown that those projects with supporters, advocates and regular blog posts receive considerably higher amounts of donations on average than those projects without these components. To put it another way: active projects are more successful.