Tips and Examples of What’s Working in Online Acquisition (Part 2 of 3)

“People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends and people they know and trust.” ~Malorie Lucich, Facebook Spokesperson

This e-newsletter was written by Mandy O’Neill.

In last week’s e-newsletter, we discussed Welcome Series and Petitions. Again not all tips will work for you, but many will and are inexpensive to try. Here’s our second of three newsletters. We look forward to helping you grow your house file.

Social Media Campaigns
We generally advise focusing on no more than two social media channels, especially, if, like most nonprofits, you are looking to drive revenue or awareness with your social media presence. Two social media acquisition examples illustrate short-term, mission-driven ways to drive lead generation via social media:

Safe Kids used Facebook to run a downloadable-kit promotion for pool safety and acquired 3,000 highly qualified email addresses. They simply offered a single click on a Facebook tab to download your kit for free using your email address. The campaign was so successful; Safe Kids has gone on to run additional safety campaigns including helmet safety and Halloween safety. The goals of the Pool Safety campaign were to:
o Educate constituents about pool safety practices
o Provide pool safety kits directly to parents
o Increase Safe Kids Facebook audience reach
o Grow the fan base (“likes”) on Facebook
o Grow the housefile with qualified names

You’ll notice that, in addition to the 3,000 new email addresses acquired, their Facebook Fan base has grew from 54,000 to 177,000 today. used Twitter to run a “Power Hour” fundraising campaign to acquire 30 new donors. They hit their goal and then some. Grist started out by offering a pool of $5,000 to match any donation 1:1 with a goal of attaining 30 new donors within their designated “Power Hour”. They had a branded landing page and thanked donors immediately on Twitter to increase the traffic stream and enthusiasm. They lined up “celebrity” journalists to tweet that they had given to the campaign to inspire “giving” and create excitement. When Grist hit their goal of 30 gifts within the first 30 minutes, they increased the campaign goal with another $5,000 match that ultimately fell short of another 30 gifts in the time remaining—but they did get more donors. Grist didn’t use a hashtag, so we can’t do a quick search to pull up all the tweets, but you can scroll back on Twitter to May 10, 2012 (requires patience) to see the campaign in full played out.

Historically Blogs drive highly qualified leads because you are getting exposure through content, shared content (when someone forwards your blog to a like-minded friend), and visibility on search engines tied back to keywords in your blog post. Don’t shy away from creating a blog if you think you have to post every day. You don’t. You can drive plenty of leads by posting as few as one to two high-quality, shareable posts per month.

Viral Campaigns
A recent study from Pew Internet found that 75% of people who find news online get it either forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites, and half of them (52%) forward the news through those means. You don’t have to have a Gangnam Style hit song and video to benefit from a viral campaign. If you have touching, funny, or breaking news, turn it into a low-cost viral campaign by:
• Overtly asking your email subscribers to forward the email (people will do this if you ask)
• Asking Facebook fans to “share” a photo with a poignant phrase, data, quote, and a link to your landing page written on the photo in contrasting color and capital letters
• Asking Twitter followers to “retweets”
• Create an Infographic
• Create a video and again, directly ask people to share, post on your website, social media, and include in emails

Chaperoned Emails
Chaperoned emails are highly effective in the nonprofit arena for recruiting “like-minded” supporters. List sharing is a tactic you’re probably already using in your direct mail program. Instead of “renting a list” and mailing to it, each organization sends an email message to its own list promoting an acquisition activity from the other organization (excluding any subscribers the organizations share in common). Subscribers who affirmatively opt-in join the list of the partner organization. All data shows that this kind of list sharing does not result in cannibalization of donors from the partners. It’s a no-brainer to ask your corporate partners and sponsors to send chaperoned emails to their employees and segmented audiences with a specific call to action.

We hope you are collecting lots of great information and developing a plan of action to increase your house file.

Stay tuned. In next week’s e-newsletter, we will wrap up this series with our last two tops; Lightbox Captures and Search Engine Optimization. We hope you are collecting lots of great information and developing a plan of action to increase your house file.


About Mandy O’Neill

Mandy O’Neill is the Chief Strategist and Founder of ConnectedNonprofit, a boutique online marketing agency that helps nonprofits with online growth initiatives, new channels of fundraising, and refreshing current online programs. You can reach her directly at