Anyone who’s spoken with either of our principals lately has probably gotten an earful on the subject of nonprofit sustainability. What is it? How can we measure it? What mistakes threaten it? What practices ensure it? And have expectations around it become a stick to beat nonprofits with?
We have answers.
In a series of articles starting here, we’ll give you a good working definition of what nonprofit sustainability is (and what is isn’t), back up our findings with research and expert references, and explain each of the areas we think are important. We’ll also debut a new tool, the Leadership Evaluation for Nonprofit Sustainability (more on that later).
We regularly hear from nonprofits, large and small, that can’t figure out how to get better at collecting and managing contact information for their visitors. These visitors may have seen your exhibit, attended an un-ticketed event, come out for an advocacy day. You know they’re interested because they turned up. But how can you easily gather contact information in order to keep them in the fold? Read on!
Mobile survey or signup
Elsewhere, you’ve probably seen staff or volunteers asking people to sign up or take a survey on an iPad or tablet. There’s no reason you can’t do it too! All it takes is:
A raffle or drawing is still a great way to give people a chance to hand over their contact information. Check your state’s regulations first; some contests fall under gaming regulations, so be careful. If you collect business cards, you can use an app like CamCard. A quick photo pulls out contact information to store in your database. Saves an awful lot of typing!
Give people something
By now, most people understand that their contact information is worth something. So why ask them to give it to you for free? Whatever method you use to gather the data, make sure that an incentive (giveaway, contest entry, special opportunity) is built into your plan. Bonus: you’ll be less likely to let all those contact details sit around the office indefinitely if you have to enter them to deliver on your incentives.
Get the info into your database
No one ever benefited from having a stack of raffle cards sitting on a shelf. If you can’t get the leads entered in less than two weeks, send out a call for volunteers, students, or anyone else you can activate to come in and do a data entry party.
Your database, full of up-to-date information about people who want to support you, is an asset like no other. Building it is your best way to expand your stakeholder base. Don’t let big corporations (who use these exact strategies at trade shows and other gatherings) own the lead capture universe. By making lead capture a part of the planning for any event or program, you can ensure a growing stakeholder base and a thriving future.
Kara has a lifetime of success in patron engagement and fundraising in North America, and spent two years recently at Birmingham Royal Ballet building systems for engagement.