It’s no secret that the Internet has given community colleges unprecedented ability to engage donors. Social media services, online fundraising strategies, crowd funding platforms and mobile tools are invaluable resources for growing support for your college’s mission and it all starts with your website.
Unfortunately, in order to see real success from online efforts it’s important to have a carefully executed plan rather than a “set it and forget it” approach. Below are 4 things EVERY Community College Foundation website should consider if you want to be taken seriously to modern donors.
1. Have a Foundation Website You Can Easily Edit and Update
I get it – you don’t know the first thing about writing HTML, you must follow protocol to be sure security measures are taken, and the IT Department must have full and total sign off… trust me, I’ve heard it all. But think for a moment if there was a way you could easily make changes to your foundation website WITHOUT the series of hoop jumping. Programs like WordPress and Drupal easily allow you to manage your Foundation website from the convenience of a word processing interface – putting YOU in control of the data. Easily update a donation thermometer in real-time, accept online donations, and recognize important donors – all of this is possible if you break free and make your case for a dedicated foundation website.
2. Drive Traffic through Social Media
Notice that I didn’t say“ be on all social media”. That may be appropriate for your college, but maybe not. The point is to pick one or two platforms where your target audience hangs out and use it consistently. Encourage staff, former donors, and supporters to like your pages and share your posts. Implement a social ad campaign targeting the demographic who has a history of donating. Social media today knows no limits in terms of age and reach – you’re bound to find donors through social media where you least expected.
3. Give More Than You Receive
Donors don’t want to feel like they are being pestered online. Certainly it is appropriate to make an “ask” on occasion. The majority of your digital content, however, should be focused on sharing your college’s story, providing honest updates about your college’s struggles and successes, and actively participating in online dialogue. A good balance is 90% Giving and 10% Asking.
4. Be Human
It is important to make your content approachable and real so your audience doesn’t feel like you are trying to sell to them. A simple exercise to get this part right: Rather than thinking “how do I convince people to do something,” think “these are my friends and I want to share something good with them.”