What hasn’t changed in the last 12 months is that recruiting monthly givers in an online environment is really tough.
Similarly, online monthly giving is still a small piece of the pie. While it is growing and undoubtedly important for portfolio balance, it’s still small.
There has, however, been a lot of movement in several areas. The cost per recruit has been coming down to as low as $200 per monthly giver, but averages around the $350-$400 mark. (Note that this is in Australian dollars but it is on par with the Canadian dollar, and costs to recruit are also similarly aligned).
I can attribute the drive behind this movement to four distinct areas.
Three stage becomes two stage (becomes one stage)
Previously, the majority of monthly giving acquired online was the result of a long and laborious recruitment funnel. You develop a sticky campaign proposition and generate leads. You find a way to get those prospects to provide a telephone number and presto, you call and ask them to commit to a small, monthly gift. This was a science that worked but it was time consuming, heavily reliant on volume, and at times cost prohibitive.
Increasingly, we are now seeing one crucial step removed. What if you were able to generate advocates online that immediately provided a telephone number to you, expecting that they’re going to be telephoned?
Organizations such as Change.org and Care2 offer such a service, speeding up the recruitment process and removing a lot of the guesswork (while simultaneously improving results).
Not content with two-stage, we’re now seeing the advent of straight to monthly giving asks. Some organizations use traditional digital advertising sources—including Facebook—and others use new programs. Change.org has developed a program where highly engaged online campaigners are asked (via email) for a low-value monthly gift upfront. Early results look very promising.
Petitions become pledges
Campaigning organizations no longer have a mortgage on digital recruitment. Using ‘pledges of support,’ or a general ‘call to arms’ can generate significant numbers of online hand raisers. The two most successful ways to do this are where:
“Yes, I absolutely believe that all animal abusers should be held to account.”
$10m a year is spent on fireworks in Australia, yet just $1m is spent annually on cerebral palsy research. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with fireworks, but surely more needs to be spent looking into a cure for CP?
Don’t get me wrong, petitions rock and are the panacea of online prospecting, but don’t lose faith if you aren’t likely to be standing on the steps of parliament house anytime soon.
The crème rises to the top
The streets ahead when it comes to media sources are (in no particular order):
Granularity is essential to driving better returns (and more monthly givers)
There is simply no excuse to not knowing which of the 15 Facebook ads you ran delivered the most monthly givers at the lowest cost per recruit and highest expected lifetime return. None at all. The technology exists, so ensure you’re taking this level of detail into account when making decisions about any rollout.
We’ve seen some media sources (and even deeper than that, advertisers) deliver loads of leads but convert to monthly giving poorly. Conversely, some deliver low volumes but exceptionally high conversion rates. Your decisions are then based on scalability and net return.
Stuff we’re working on now
Here’s a taste of what’s exciting about the next few months of digital recruitment.
Oh, and how could I talk digital without mentioning mobile recruitment—stay tuned for more information here, coming soon.
Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at flat earth direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world focused on digital, direct response and campaigning stuff.
If you'd like to chat to Jonathon you can email him, follow him on twitter @jonathongrapsas or check out www.flatearthdirect.com.