Raising money for your political campaign online is part art, part science. Anyone can throw up a “donate now” button on their campaign website and hope for the best. Unfortunately, if that’s your strategy, you’ll quickly be disappointed with your results.
Here are the best strategies for raising more money online for your campaign:
Strategy #1: Focus on Collecting E-Mails
When raising money online for your campaign, your main goal isn’t to get visitors to your website to click that big “donate now” button. Sure, that would be nice… but most people won’t do it. Instead, they will come to your website, look around, and then leave. You won’t know who they are, and you won’t have any way to contact them.
Smart campaigns know that the main goal of their website is to collect e-mail addresses from those who visit. If you can get people to sign up for your campaign’s e-newsletter by giving you their e-mail address, you’ll know who is visiting your site, and you’ll have a way to stay in touch with them over the coming weeks and months.
Remember that the fortune is in the follow-up. Once you have someone’s e-mail address and permission to use it, your campaign should stay in touch with them by sending regular newsletters and updates. Of course, you’ll also want to send fundraising solicitations by e-mail on a regular basis as well.
Get people to give you their e-mail address, and then use it to raise more money for your campaign.
Strategy #2: Use a Hub and Spoke System
The central hub for your campaign’s online fundraising activities (and for all of your online activities in general) must be your website.
While it may seem like all of the action is on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, the truth is that if you rely on social networks to reach your donors, you’re making a huge mistake.
Remember that you don’t own your social media profiles and followers – the social networks do. They can change their policies and terms at any time (and they do!) which can leave your campaign without access to all of the people you have worked so hard to connect with.
Similarly, when you communicate via social networks, remember that you are only talking to a fraction of your follower. On Facebook, for example, each of your updates will only be seen by 3-5% of your followers, and many of them won’t even be paying attention. The same is true for Twitter, Google+ and other social sites.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t be on social media… you should. But you should be sure to spend lots of your social networking time posting links back to relevant information on your website… where people can browse, learn more, and then sign-up for your e-mail newsletter.
Your website is your hub, your social networks are your spokes.
Strategy #3: Make a Case for People to Give
Lots of political campaigns have a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to raising money on their websites. They put up a website, slap up a “donate now” button, and wait for the money to come rolling in. It rarely does.
Tell visitors to your website why the campaign is important, and why they should care.
In order to convince donors to give to your campaign online, you need to make a real case for why they should give. You need to explain why this campaign is so important, and why you need money to win the election. You should also explain why you need that money now, and what you will do with the money.
Then, you need to make an ask. A real, honest to goodness fundraising ask, right there on your website. Don’t just tell people why you need money and then post a “donate now” button. Instead, say something like, “Will you make a donation today to help us win this election?” Ask a question, then post your donate now button and let people answer the question by clicking on it to make a donation right away.