For my final project, I will create an Online Strategy Document for The Fire Light Foundation (Fire Light) in New Zealand. Jenny Ewing, a trained healthcare worker and the mother of my friend Scott, established Fire Light in 2009. Jenny believes that medical care should be a fundamental right for all people and her mission is to provide emergency medical care training and education in Laos.
Laos’ medical facilities are described as “quite minimal [in the capital] and totally inadequate in remoter regions of the country”. Moreover, it currently has no pre-hospital first line emergency care (e.g. paramedic or first aid service) and knowledge of pre-hospital emergency care is non-existent.
- Sponsor Laotian doctors for up to three months of medical training at a partner Thai hospital;
- Emergency medical training in Laos; and
- Creation, translation and distribution of the country’s first emergency medical care handbook.
Like most nonprofits, Fire Light depends on donations. However, Jenny, the driving force of the organization, spends much of her time travelling between New Zealand and Laos. Moreover, her strength lies in the delivery of Fire Light’s initiatives and she has limited resources to devote to Fire Light’s online presence. With this in mind, using the POST format the Online Strategy Document will cover:
People: The target person is a wealthy donor who cares about the cause (access to medical care) and/or the country/region (Laos/Asia). Given that Fire Light is located in New Zealand, and New Zealand is a much more prosperous country than Laos (GDP per capita of $41,555 versus $1,646), it makes sense to focus on wealthy New Zealanders.
Objectives: The purpose of the strategy document is to increase donations, which can be directly measured by the amount of money raised.
Strategy: The overall recommendation is that Fire Light should adopt a donor engagement strategy. Currently its only digital presence is a static website, and there is no online donation functionality. Given the increasing focus on high impact philanthropy, Fire Light needs to find a way to showcase its work so that donors are encouraged to keep giving.
Technology: In order to execute the donor engagement strategy, various technological outlets will be explored including:
- Email marketing: as discussed in class, this is an effective way of raising money and probably the best channel to reach wealthy donors. Fire Light could curate a sequence of emails that starts off with showing donors how they can have an impact on individual lives and cumulates with asking for money.
- Improved website: currently the website is dark and text heavy, and should be revamped to be much more visual and simplified.
- Donation function: Fire Light needs to set up a way to receive donations online. Furthermore, it should incorporate a feature that allows donors to set up recurring donations and/or to donate to a specific initiative (e.g. sponsor a specific doctor). Fire Light also needs to automate a timely follow-up with donors to keep them engaged.
- Updates and engagement via the website and social media channels: the great work that Jenny and her team does on the ground is not reflected on the website. Weekly/monthly updates could help Fire Light keep donors up to date on their progress and encourage more giving.
With solid digital foundations, Fire Light will be able to more effectively raise funds for a very worthy cause.