The British Red Cross is using customer relationship management (CRM) technology to slash costs, boost online donations and better understand the behaviour of visitors to its website.
The charity will use RedEye's website visitor identification and reporting tools to study which areas of its marketing spend are most successful in bringing visitors to the website. The tools will also analyse the paths that visitors follow online, and help the charity understand what prompts people to make a donation.
The project will be used as the basis for a new digital communications strategy and a new website. Next year the charity plans to introduce personalised emails to donors, detailing the progress of campaigns to which they have donated money.
Colette Coyne, e-communications manager for the British Red Cross, told vnunet.com: "We know how many people click online but we don't know what they do when they get there. This will allow us to see how effective campaigns are."
Web income for the British Red Cross has doubled in the last year, and the immediacy of the medium has had a huge impact on the charity sector as a whole, Coyne added.
"There's a much better return on investment in doing things on the web: the cost is much lower," she said.
"We don't have specific targets in terms of the amount we want to raise online, but we want to make sure visitors to the site can find the information they want and are so impressed by the work we do they sign up to become a donor."
Use of the web by charities is increasing. A recent four-month Iraq appeal by the British Red Cross generated 10 per cent of funds - around £100,000 - online. But Coyne acknowledged that it is just another channel to market.
Besides, old habits die hard, and one of the most popular ways of giving is still through a collection box in the pub, according to a survey out this week for the British Heart Foundation.
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