Like so many other charities today, YWCA Boston was facing the challenge of how to increase donations and limit attrition rates among its supporters. Adding to this problem was the difficulty they had integrating various efforts to reach constituents and generate new audiences. They needed to create a more unified conversation and they turned to HubSpot, an innovative marketing resource, to help them connect the dots.
“Our Hubspot platforms allow us to better engage and mobilize our base of 4,000 program participants, volunteers and donors,” said Larry Seamans, Senior Vice President and COO, YWCA Boston.
With guidance from HubSpot consultants and the implementation of HubSpot’s all-in-one inbound marketing software platform, YWCA Boston was able to integrate their website, blogging, and social media so they were sending one cohesive message. HubSpot gave them content publishing tools that are easy to use, coached them on best practices to create fresh, optimized blog content, and showed them how to push that content through various social media outlets, all from one place. HubSpot’s social media engagement software made it easy for Seamans to mobilize his constituents, increase the organization’s reach and, even with limited staffing resources, create a robust, effective social fundraising program.
“Through cross pollination of all of their efforts, from website to social media, YWCA Boston’s engagement number is higher than ever because they’ve been able to build visibility, authority and recognition,” said YWCA Boston’s HubSpot consultant Rebecca Churt.
Since YWCA Boston started with HubSpot a year ago, their base has grown 30%, especially attracting new volunteers, which was a specific goal for their campaign. Their Twitter followers are up 22% and blog subscribers are growing 10% month over month. On average, YWCA Boston is able to get 20% of invitees to register to attend their fundraising events, fully based on their social media efforts.
Historically, non-profit organizations saw themselves in a group apart from for-profit and business entities. The truth is, the methods that work to attract an audience, keep their attention and compel them to act are the same regardless of whether you are saving whales or selling widgets. From a social media perspective, that’s where HubSpot came in.
HubSpot, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was founded in 2006 by a couple of guys from MIT who were interested in the internet’s power to transform small businesses. Their vision was to provide a killer marketing software application and forward-thinking consulting that would enable small businesses to utilize the many resources of the internet to “get found” and convert visitors into customers. Today, HubSpot has over 4,500 customers in industries as diverse as health services, construction, technology, hospitality, music, education – and now non-profits.
HubSpot’s software platform consists of three tool sets. The first is to “get found.” Here, users access content management, SEO and blogging tools to create, optimize and promote content and then push it through social media, essentially transforming a relatively static website into a modern marketing machine. The next step is to “convert,” capturing prospects’ information and compelling them to act with a landing page creation tool. The average lead conversion rate for a HubSpot landing page is 35.62% – this is 3 to 4 times higher than industry averages. The final step is to “analyze,” understanding over time who is coming to your sight and what they are doing once they get there. Are they converting, are they becoming donors? HubSpot’s analytic tools evaluate what efforts are working and allow organizations to understand precisely where donors are coming from. They can track ROI across all outreach efforts, using landing page statistics to compare results from Google grant ads (free ad words that help non-profits promote their mission and close the marketing loop), organic search, direct mail and social media (Facebook and Twitter). This process, referred to as “Inbound Marketing,” has become increasingly more effective at bringing in and converting new constituents, as well as measuring the results.
Inbound marketing is at the core of what HubSpot helps their clients master. It’s the idea that an organization should “be found” instead of having to actively go out to find people. Inbound marketing is when a new constituent comes to you, raises their hand, gives you their contact info and says “I want to be involved with you.” Nothing is more powerful than that, and this kind of permission marketing is so important because it’s so much more personal. The quality of the people you are interacting with is so much higher when there is a personal connection, and HubSpot’s brand of inbound marketing is all about creating better content and providing the tools that allow organizations to grow their reach and engagement. Social media is a particularly effective way to develop relationships with people, and people are much more likely to donate to organizations with whom they feel they have a relationship.
“How people are making decisions about donating are changing,” said Brooke Freedman, HubSpot’s director of non-profit development program. “HubSpot is helping non-profits to be more effective with their fundraising efforts in an environment where many charities are struggling and fighting for dollars from a shrinking pool of resources.”
According to the Coalition for Social Fundraising – which counts among its founding members thought leaders and fundraising professionals from Boston College and Harvard Business School and held its inaugural meeting last November at the Harvard Club of Boston – social media is helping non-profits support their cause in unprecedented ways. “At its core, social fundraising is individuals helping individuals support a cause by tapping into personal networks to spread the word, engage others, recruit volunteers, solicit donations, and seamlessly deliver funds to recipient organizations.” Think of how easy it has become to donate money to support Red Cross disaster relief simply by sending a text message with a particular code. Social fundraising gives non-profits the ability to involve donors in the same way that they shop, share information, meet friends, date, and interact online.
HubSpot works with numerous non-profits in the Boston area, including hospitals, continuing education programs, museums and animal welfare organizations. Following the HubSpot method for integrated social media engagement, all of them are experiencing tremendous success, especially in fundraising growth. It used to be that organizations had to have a large marketing budget in order to cultivate constituents and move them to participate. Social media has leveled the playing field and now non-profits with very little financial resources can realize huge results.
Over the past five years, social fundraising has helped organizations raise nearly a billion dollars. With the continued growth of social media and the smart phone revolution, it’s inevitable that social fundraising will play an increasingly significant roll for non-profits of all kinds.
- Fundraising emails have a 90% or greater open rate and a 25% conversion rate.
- Twitter and Facebook updates convert roughly 0.25 percent of impressions into donations.
- Average gift size from email is $60 and average gift size from social media mentions is $40.
Data source: Blackbaud’s Friends Asking Friends
YWCA Boston is a social justice organization whose mission is to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace. To learn more about the organization, its programs and how you can donate or volunteer, visit their website or call 617-585-5400.