In “Katya’s Non-profit Marketing Blog” she shares some online giving statistics from Network for Good.  Specifically, how online donations sharply spiked about 2 days after the earthquake in Haiti on January 12th, and then have steadily declined ever since

As she says, as the headlines and media coverage fade . . . so do our memories.  That’s just the way it is with any disaster that doesn’t directly impact us. 

But what’s most valuable about her blog post is this: Katya cites three solid ideas for countering this natural decline in donations after a disaster.  Here are Katya’s three ways charities involved in Haiti relief can keep the donations rolling in:

1. When attention is on the crisis and impulse is at a high, ask for a recurring gift.

2. Thank the donors that gave often and report on the life-saving results of their dollars.

3. Consider an anniversary campaign six months out or one year later.  Ask them to consider a gift to rebuild.

I’m going to expand on these just a bit. 

Definitely ask for a recurring gift (credit cards are the most popular and convenient for the donor).  Even though attention is already fading consider this…

• Your emergency direct mail appeal has probably already dropped in the mail.  Hopefully you asked for a recurring gift in your P.S., and on the reply device.  But whether you did or didn’t, you can still ask for the recurring gift in your thank you letter to donors who gave; in emails; on your website; in whatever social media channels you use (e.g., Twitter and Facebook).

• And in these communications please be sure to include updates on how so many lives are better in Haiti thanks to the generosity of your donors.  Show photos of happy people you helped and share short but compelling “before and after” stories – their fear and helplessness before your charity came to help and specifically how their lives have improved.  Include a testimonial if possible.

• In your newsletter include Haiti updates in with your other mission work.  And again, ask for that recurring gift along with the standard statements of how more can be done with periodic donations; recurring gifts mean more money goes to the needy because your fundraising costs are lower; etc.

• For your mobile donors who have agreed to receive updates from you, include an occasional text message on your progress in Haiti.  Include a text-to-donate link or have a link to a mobile-friendly web page with happy pictures and more of the story.  On the landing page include the option for monthly giving.  (Note – Landing pg can have the donate form at the bottom of the page.  Ideally top of  form is visible above the fold.  Have your most compelling update story at the top with links to more.)

Scheduling a special “anniversary” appeal in six or twelve months is also a marvelous suggestion.  I’ll ditto Katya’s emphasis on profusely showering praise on your donors in this appeal. 

Finally, please ensure that your donors know that all donations for Haiti made before April 15th, can be deducted on their 2009 tax returns.  I wrote about this in my newsletter yesterday, the ZAPP Nonprofit Leader – look for Hot Tip #1 for details.

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