AFP Conference – Baltimore

The AFP National Conference was held in Baltimore this week.  I attended on Tuesday, hoping to get some pointers on online fundraising and social media strategies.  I also looked forward to the opportunity to talk to other fundraisers and find out how they were holding up on the past year’s epic fundraising challenges.

My first session was Online Fundraising – What’s in Store for the Next 50 Years.  Vinay Bhagat, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer for Convio, Inc. in Austin, Texas was one presenter, along with Pam Loeb, Principle at Edge Research, a marketing research company.  Convio provides software and services that help nonprofit’s to view constituent behavior by tracking online activities and analyzing this information to design online fundraising and advocacy campaigns.  The purpose of the session was to help nonprofits gauge their cultivation activities toward different generations of donors. This is what I took away from this session:

  1. While older generations (Matures) still prefer to mail in a check, younger generations (Gen X and Gen Y) are more inclined to go online. This is no big surprise.
  2. Content is King, even when working online.  What you say has to engage your donor. Good writing is still necessary.  This should be no surprise.

My second session was Supersize My Online Savvy led by Katya Andresen, Chief Operating Officer at Network for Good.  There were a huge number of take-aways from this session and they were conveniently packaged into lists.  Here are 4:

  1. Amp Up Your Website – Start with an emotionally engaging image or statement.
  2. Amp Up Your Donate page – Present a clear call to action on your donation form (Donate! Or Become a member!)
  3. Amp Up Your Email – Have a subject line that entices readers to open your message.
  4. And finally Web 2.0 is about people wanting to be seen and heard and connect with others.  You need to engage your constituents, but in the process…you need to be prepared to lose control.

by: Sharon Rabb, Project Specialist