Sometimes you just don’t have a lot of time to get the job done when you’re working on campaigns. For progressive champion Patsy Keever running for Congress in North Carolina, that meant calling on PowerThru Consulting to boost her online fundraising in the final months of the campaign.
Before PowerThru stepped in, Patsy Keever raised $34,307 online from May to June of last year. From Aug to Nov, Patsy raised $123,023 from online contributions. Nearly four times as much! These critical funds were used to close a significant gap in the paid media budget allowing Patsy to launch her final television ad as well as run targeted online ads across the district.
Here are some tips and tricks we implemented to make that happen:
1) Ask ‘em! It might sound silly to say this, but actually asking people for money is the easiest way to, well, raise money! Until PowerThru took over, Patsy’s campaign had been sending vague emails with no specific asks. How can you expect people to give when they don’t know how much you need?
2) Tell a story. Asking for money is only part of the necessary work, you need to tell an effective story about why your supporters have to give to your campaign. For Patsy, it was about telling the story of the progressive hero running against the conservative villain. We weaved Patsy’s personal story into every blast and highlighted the key differences between the two candidates using petitions and other online actions. We rarely sent a one-off email. Every blast had a follow-up that was building to a climax.
3) Segment. We split Patsy’s email into three primary segments: Donors, Activists (anyone who had taken some kind of action i.e. volunteer, sign a petition but hadn’t donated), and Non-activists (anyone who was opening emails but not taking any action). This made it easy to tailor our asks to those on our email list. For donors, we asked more of them because we knew already that they cared about the campaign. For Activists, we tailored smaller $5 asks to them and did simple messaging that explained a small donation was a natural evolution of the action they’ve already taken. For non-activists, we used specific messaging to turn them into Activists/Donors since we had not yet been able to motivate them. This allowed us to continuously move people up the engagement ladder with the ultimate goal of raising money for the Keever campaign down the stretch.
4) Be creative. In today’s world, everyone is asking for money on the internet. Everyone gets the casual “hey” from Barack Obama and the creepy Nigerian prince that needs some quick cash, so you have to be different if you want to stand out. One of the most successful emails we had for Patsy was near the EOQ when we simply sent a screenshot of an Excel spreadsheet that showed the goal and total raised. A three sentence message from Patsy accompanied it and people gave like crazy.
5) Sub-asks. For Patsy, we looked to send fundraising emails at the end of the month and to start each month with a non-fundraising ask like a petition or LTE campaign. But that didn’t mean we weren’t looking to raise some dough. An easy way to boost fundraising is to implement a sub-ask after your online actions so that every time someone signs a petition they are forwarded to a contribution page that thanks them and asks for money. We found that Patsy was able to raise roughly $0.50 for every petition signature we earned. That included a $3,500 haul in sub-asks from a Medicare petition that was signed over 6,000 times in 48 hours.
PowerThru’s experience on Patsy Keever’s campaign was a perfect example of how good storytelling and fundamentally strong new media tactics can boost ROI significantly. Implementing these five tips and tricks should provide a solid boost to your fundraising.
Want more online fundraising tips for your campaign or organization? Be sure to read our online fundraising principles and best practices guide. Have more questions or want to talk about how we can help you maximize your fundraising online? Contact PowerThru today!