Campaign Microsites: A New Tool in Your Online Ecosystem

Posted on Dec 2, 2017 in Blog, Fundamentals

Digital media offer exciting new opportunities to reach prospective donors and thank those who have already contributed to your capital campaign. Campaign microsites are becoming increasingly popular as a vehicle to trumpet your campaign’s brand, highlight campaign news and provide an easy way for donors to make a pledge or an outright gift.

Ensure your campaign microsite is doing its job by following these recommendations:

  • Focus the purpose of your microsite. Are you kicking off the public phase of your campaign or are you looking for a little “oomph” to get you to the finish line? Clarity of purpose should inform the design, content and intended outcomes for the site. A site built to create momentum in a final phase is Nightingale-Bamford’s Every Girl: The Campaign for Nightingale’s Future.
  • Choose a content management system. Since microsites “live” off your school’s main website and have a separate address, you may need to choose a secondary content management system separate from your school’s CMS. Check first with your current CMS company as some, such as Finalsite, offer microsite-building capabilities. We’ve also had success using Squarespace.
  • Create compelling content. Adapt copy from your case statement to be web-friendly—short, bulleted content complemented by fantastic photography. Common navigation areas for campaign microsites include vision statements, leadership and donor profiles and testimonials, news, online giving forms/pledge payment forms and contact information.
  • Invest in video. Campaigns are about people. Good people make gifts that impact the deserving people on your campus. Your campaign video should help your constituencies envision themselves as stewards of your story. So create video that features individuals telling your campaign story and sharing their donor experiences.
  • Forms are key. Since online payment is built in to commerce today, donors expect it to be easy to make online gifts and pledge payments. Be sure that your forms are simple and straightforward. Of course, they should be on a secure server to protect a donor’s personal information (this should also be factored into your CMS decision). Donors should receive immediate email receipt of their transaction—and it should say “thank you.”
  • Create calls to action. A beautifully designed site is of no use if the reader doesn’t know how to engage with the campaign. Create next steps by encouraging readers to contact the director of development, find stock transfer information, or make a pledge/gift. A simple heading of “Join Us” encourages a feeling of inclusion.
  • Update often. Unlike static printed case statements, campaign microsites provide tremendous flexibility. Update campaign news, donor testimonials and donor lists as often as possible. Utilize social media and your school’s main website to drive traffic to the microsite. An example of a site often updated throughout the past three years is MX2: The Campaign for Middlesex.

As donors continue to be selective with their philanthropic dollars, schools need to demonstrate compelling reasons for investment and demonstrate their wise stewardship of those dollars. Move online where your donors are.