The Obama Effect, Part I: 20 Takeaways for Multichannel Fundraisers
There's no question that the Obama for America campaign set a new standard in online fundraising. Of its $750 million raised, half a billion came in online.
Let me say that again. Half a billion dollars came in online; that's 6.5 million small donations, with an $80 average gift, from 3 million donors. Those numbers are staggering. So how did Obama for America do it?
In many ways the campaign was "in the right place at the right time," meaning it picked up from where Howard Dean's campaign left off, but now consumers are more comfortable with the idea of giving online than they were in 2004. Obama's campaign also profited from the onset of new media, like video, social media and mobile technologies, that were not as widely used only a few short years ago. Then, there are the numerous fundraising advantages of a political campaign's structure, such as constant media attention, huge name recognition, high emotions and quick deadlines to meet.
As much as fortuitous circumstances abetted its efforts, the Obama for America campaign put to use every best practice of online marketing and brought the power of online fundraising to the forefront of everyone's mind. "As the Obama campaign's success in raising so much money online begins to enter the consciousness of the public, I think we will start to see more and more people turn online not just to search for information about nonprofits ... but to take advantage of secure online giving opportunities and open up their checkbooks," comments Mal Warwick, founder and chairman of Mal Warwick Associates, a direct mail and internet fundraising consultancy based in Berkeley, Calif.
Now more than ever, fundraisers should be thinking critically about integrating online into their direct mail strategies. Below and in part two, to be published in our May issue, Warwick and other fundraising experts share 20 key best practices and ideas that they've taken away from their experiences with multichannel fundraising and Obama for America's successful campaign.