The Obama Effect, Part II: 20 Takeaways for Multichannel Fundraisers
19. Augment Traditional Marketing With New Media
"One thing that [the Obama campaign] did well was exploit new media channels ... both social media, like YouTube, and social networks, like Facebook and MySpace," Bhagat shares. He says that such venues are especially effective in reaching Generation Y and millennials, two groups who are on these networks daily, some individuals for hours at a time. "The amount of clutter in those channels in terms of competing messages is still less than in channels like e-mail or your mailbox. So they're exciting in that sense ... but they're not a replacement for traditional marketing channels like e-mail, websites and direct mail; they're really an augmentation," he explains.
20. Social Networking May Be the Future of Giving
Facebook and MySpace are only really precursors that highlight a larger trend: It is a cultural norm to share your online experience with friends and family. Social networking had a powerful effect on Obama's fundraising. Bhagat points out Obama's online tool set, called "my vote," which enabled users to reach out to friends and family to raise money, promote local events and encourage voting. He says that today constituents are forwarding appeals to friends, sending e-cards to raise awareness on issues, and creating personal pages to raise money from family and friends.
"I am excited about the prospects of social networking and the prospects of people being able to do their own fundraising," PETA's Phillips enthuses. "That's something that hasn't been a big part of the equation so far, and people are still working to get it right. But I can imagine that five years from now, it will be a much, much larger part of all online fundraising."
In many ways, the Obama for America campaign's success online represents a sea change in how donors function and how fundraisers must adapt. "What's most exciting about [the Obama campaign] to me is that people in the millions are becoming engaged more actively in the causes and campaigns that are most meaningful to them," says Warwick, who believes fundraisers will begin seeing more and more people coming online to research nonprofits and take advantage of giving opportunities.