The Obama Effect, Part II: 20 Takeaways for Multichannel Fundraisers
In part one of this article, published in our April issue, we discussed how the Obama for America campaign became so powerful online, raising half a billion dollars total in small donations. It's true that a political campaign has unique elements that make it ripe for online marketing, such as constant media attention, big name recognition, high emotions and a quick deadline to meet, yet there are many best practices that fundraisers can take away from the Obama campaign.
The discussion continues below, detailing the final 10 takeaways, as our panel of expert multichannel fundraisers share detailed tips on crafting successful online messages. These experts also discuss emerging applications in social media, mobile and integrated data, which fundraisers can employ in online campaigns.
11. One-to-One Messaging Is Imperative in E-mail
"There is no question that the effort to achieve some degree of verisimilitude online is one of the ways that online fundraising and direct mail are similar," comments Mal Warwick, founder and chairman of Mal Warwick Associates, a direct mail and internet fundraising consultancy based in Berkeley, Calif. "Certainly the personal message, addressed to the individual from an individual, is just as much a necessity online."
One-to-one messaging is one tactic that the Obama for America's campaign executed perfectly. The campaign's communications, whether sent via e-mail, direct mail or mobile, were personalized whenever possible and came from either the candidate himself, his wife Michelle or David Plouffe, the campaign manager. "It made me feel like such an insider. I got the emotion of Obama speaking directly to me, that he knows who I am," says Karen Taggart, manager of fundraising innovations for PETA.
12. Carefully Select the ‘Voice' of the Sender
In direct mail appeals, most messages come from the head of an organization, but in e-mail appeals, the sender is visible right away and is as crucial as the message's subject line. "I don't think it's a matter of the message being ‘from the president' every time; I definitely do not see that working online," states Paul Phillips, online fundraising manager for PETA.