Digital Field of Dreams

“If you build it, they will come…”


As baseball season moves into full swing (pardon the pun), I’m reminded of the movie Field of Dreams, in which the main character builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his Iowa cornfield after hearing voices whispering the above quote. 
Building the field wasn’t the end of the story, though. There were still two important questions to be answered: “Why?” and “Now what happens?”
The same is true for digital resources in the nonprofit world. Building your “field of dreams,” whether that’s a website, social media account, podcast or even an app is only the first step. If you’re not answering the questions of “Why?” and “Now what happens?” when someone connects with you, you’re missing opportunities to engage your audience and build meaningful relationships.
When someone visits your website, do you know what led them there? Do you know what content they’re consuming? What pages are getting the most hits? Do you have a simple, user-friendly way of collecting e-mail addresses from those who download your resources? What is your follow-up plan, based on what someone new subscribes to or downloads? How are you inviting them to learn more and equipping them with ways to get involved?
There are similar questions to ask about your social media followers. What are the demographics of your connections? What content gets the most views? What posts are being shared? Who is sharing them? Are you providing opportunities for two-way interaction?
Is there crossover between your online community and the audience who receives your direct mail? How do those channels complement each other?
All these questions are important, and they’re just a sampling of what you should be asking in order to create a viable digital strategy. Ultimately, a digital strategy should engage and equip your audience, with the goal of converting them to philanthropic supporters.
Yes, if you build it they will come, but the bigger question for nonprofits is: how will you keep them coming back?

John Payne