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Using competition to attract website visitors and collect email addresses

Competition is a powerful motivator and the Jewish Community Heroes campaign is a great example of how to harness people’s competitive instincts to achieve multiple benefits. I learned about the campaign when I recently received an email encouraging me to vote for noted Holocaust survivor and author Gerda Weissmann Klein to be recognized as a Jewish Hero. She is a very worthy hero in my mind, so I happily clicked the link and voted for her. After voting, I was given an opportunity to get updates on the voting and Spread The Word by emailing friends. Brilliant, think about how this seemingly simple website is able to achieve so many desirable goals including:

  • providing recognition for many worthy individuals – not just the winner, but everyone who is nominated.
  • engaging constituents in the process of nomination, voting and campaigning.
  • dramatically expanding website visitors and collecting lots of email addresses using viral and social networking techniques that require very little effort (or really commitment) from participants.

Although creating a sophisticated campaign like this may be beyond your non-profit’s current capacity, there are still some great lessons about using friendly competition (a common option in team-raising and sponsored event tools) and about using non-fundraising engagement tools (e.g. petitions and surveys) to build email lists that can be cultivated into active supporters.

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