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A core benefit of NationBuilder's all-in-one system is its ability to seamlessly capture a 360-degree view of your supporter’s actions. Having this perspective means you have the insight you need to optimize your supporter engagement strategies. But the first step, of course, is acquiring supporters with whom you can begin building those relationships.
Although a common strategy for supporter acquisition is importing lists, the most successful NationBuilder customers follow a different path. They use their website.
While buying a list and importing it into your database might seems like the easiest path to supporter acquisition, the return on investment calculation is not as simple. Creating an action-focused webpage that drives supporters to spread the word, attracts new visitors, and inspires interested supporters to sign up organically may take more work initially, but the return on this grassroots acquisition strategy pays off in the long-term.
We analyzed over 100 million pieces of anonymized signup data—here’s what we found.
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Organically acquired supporters are more engaged
The first finding from our analysis is perhaps the most important: organically acquired supporters add measurably greater value.
Take fundraising as an example. While donors who were originally added via a data import gave an average of $28.53 per year, donors acquired via the website gave an average of $34.02 per year—that’s 20% higher! This trend holds up across other actions as well, with supporters coming in via the website remaining more engaged that those acquired in other ways.
One way to measure this level of relative engagement is via responsiveness to emails. In the chart below we split our customers into five groups based on the percentage of supporters in their database that were acquired from organic website channels.
By knowing exactly where a supporter came from and having that information live in an integrated database, organizations were able to create targeted outreach, raise more money, and build a deeper level of engagement. The result? Organizations whose databases consisted of mostly organic website signups saw substantially higher email open and click through rates than databases with mostly imported supporters.
Your best advocates also most likely originated from a webpage signup
A website supporter acquisition strategy will do even more for an organization's long-term success than acquire more engaged supporters. Supporters that originate from webpage signups are also more likely to drive additional new signups, since they're a nation's best advocates and recruiters.
A supporter acquired organically from a webpage is 14.2 times more likely to recruit others when compared to supporters who were not acquired from a webpage signup. The impact of acquiring these recruiters creates a powerful growth loop. People who were recruited are 12.9 times more likely to become a recruiter themselves. Acquiring not just any supporters, but supporters who will recruit others for you, lowers your acquisition costs in the long run, increases the rate of your growth, and ensures you can maintain a steady organic growth rate over the long-term.
The best way to acquire website supporters organically is via a petition page
Convinced? If you're ready to get started with an organic supporter acquisition strategy on your site, consider using petitions. In fact, the easiest and most common way to acquire supporters is through a petition signup page. For starters, setting up a petition page is easy. Plus, the ask for your visitor is simple: if you agree with <fill in the blank>, just sign this petition! The important thing here is that the first ask is small. Once the supporter has taken this first action, it becomes exponentially easier to make even more high-value future asks. When compared to everyone else, supporters acquired via a petition page are:
- 1.92 times more likely to become members
- 1.39 times more likely to volunteer
- 4.23 times more likely to recruit others
Note: The above multipliers are even higher (+22%) in data from non-political organizations.
A NationBuilder theme can turbocharge your acquisition
Finally, while creating a beautiful webpage for supporter acquisition can seem like a lot of work, a NationBuilder website can make this task a little bit easier. The new, free Momentum theme is designed with best practices baked-in to encourage maximum engagement. Prefer a different theme? NationBuilder offers a diverse array of free themes. See the most popular themes ranked by total donations raised:
In an era when so many organizations are placing singular focus on having the largest list possible, don’t lose sight of what truly matters—building meaningful relationships. If you put in the time and effort to build your website and grow your list one signup at a time, you will create a thriving community that lasts.
Want to learn more about supporter acquisition strategies? See our webinar: The secret to lowering the cost of supporter acquisition