Random Thoughts on Life and Work

August 14, 2006

Online Relationships

Filed under: Online Community — Darren Mullenix @ 2:48 pm

The last post dealt with the technical aspects of collecting contributions on the web.  Now the question is, how do we get the donor(s) to keep coming back to the website and make contributions?  Answer:  they have to want to.  Easy answer but not so easy to implement.  Here are some ideas that might help.

  1. Email.  Are you collecting the email addresses of your constituency that visit your website?  Are you giving them a reason to leave their address with you?  And are you getting permission to email to them?  As you build your website strategy, consider how to find ways to encourage donors to interact with your website.  It does not have to be fancy but it must be intentional and focused.  Deliver on what you promise.  If you are going to offer an e-newsletter, make sure you are ready to deliver. 
  2. E-Updates.  There are some great services available to facilitate regular e-contacts with your donors.  If you don’t have the technical capability in-house, investigate companies like Constant Contact and Brontos to help with the process of regularly sending updates to your online constituency. 
  3. A fresh website.  This does not mean that your website should be updated daily.  But you should make an effort to have up-to-date, relevant information posted to your website.  Make people want to come back to visit your site.  One possibility here is to include an RSS feed on your website so that your constituents have the ability to automatically receive updated information.
  4. Interactive Features.  These could include e-cards, short audio and visual presentations of projects or activities, or the ability to send specific pages to friends.  The trick is to not be too fancy but to provide ways for website visitors to grab hold of your website and make it theirs.

These are just a few thoughts on building online relationships.  Hopefully they will be useful to someone.

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