An article on October 13 regarding nonprofits’ online success (or lack thereof) in Fundraising Success began like this:

"Nonprofit organizations are resource constrained, as we all well know. According to a 15-question survey Convio conducted between September 2008 and October 2008 of 60 nonprofits, the most common response regarding their organization’s top barrier to success was insufficient staff. [Emphasis added.]

Other barriers to online success noted by those surveyed were lack of coordination, lack of education of online marketing, database issues, integration of different Web tools/technologies and intradepartmental issues. The survey also found that nearly 70 percent of the organizations questioned have three or fewer employees dedicated to online-related programs."

Let me repeat: the most common response regarding their organization’s top barrier to success was insufficient staff.

On October 14, the very next edition of Fundraising Success featured these two articles: Tips for Recruiting Supporters to Your Facebook Cause and Seven Tips to Harness the Power of Twitter for Your Cause.

Does everyone see the problem here?

Online staffs are spread too thin (and I suspect many have too little direct marketing experience) to get even the basics on online fundraising mastered.

See my comments about the Greenpeace USA website from Monday. Or wait till Friday’s post, when our guest writer will document how shabby even the most basic e-newsletter practices are of many of the biggest US nonprofits … all groups spending more than $1 million per year on fundraising.

And yet, as the articles from Fundraising Success illustrate, there’s a clamor to run out and jump into Facebook and Twitter. I’m not knocking FS … they’re just accurately reading and servicing their market. If it’s hot, they need to cover it. And I guess, in that sense, so do we at The Agitator.

But c’mon folks, let’s concentrate a bit on getting the fundamentals right — too many e-mail fundraising appeals suck … too many Donate pages suck. If the direct mail of some of these organizations was as careless and backward as their online fundraising, they’d be broke.

There, I’ve gotten that off my chest!


P.S. I know that in spite of my fulminations, you’re still going to click off to the damn Facebook and Twitter articles, aren’t you?!


This article was posted in: Communications, Direct mail, Nonprofit management, Online fundraising and marketing, Social media.
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