Online Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits
For nonprofit organizations which rely on donations to fund their work, it is becoming increasingly important for them to implement an online fundraising strategy:
- Cyber donations increased by 34.5% in 2011
- Online donations accounted for 7.6% of all fundraising in 2010
- 75% of young adults gave to charity in 2011; 70% of these donated online and 7% donated via text message or mobile websites
(sources: Post-Gazette and Philanthropy.com)
To maximize online donations, nonprofits need to move beyond just the typical measures of putting a “donate” button on their website. Here are 4 effective strategies for increasing online donations.
1. Rethink Your Email Marketing Campaign
While getting new donors is important, it is incredibly important to maintain relationships with existing donors because they are the ones building a strong foundation for your nonprofit. One of the most effective – and easiest - ways of building relationships with donors is through email.
Already, many nonprofits are using email marketing. However, few small nonprofits are really utilizing this cheap and readily-available channel to its maximum benefits. Email marketing requires a clear strategy which aims at exciting and engaging subscribers. Click the link to read more about email marketing strategies for nonprofits.
2. Get Personal with Donors
As Jocelyn Harmon from Care2 summed up online marketing strategy very well for the website Frog Loop:
Organizations need to stop waxing on and on about their institutional successes and instead connect with prospective and current donors around issues that matter to them.
Donors aren’t going to care about all the great things your nonprofit is doing if they don’t feel like they had a part in it! That is why the most successful fundraising efforts put the focus on the donors so they feel involved.
Social media is one of the best ways to get donors involved. Regular posts on channels like Facebook let donors know that you are out there working for them – but all while making them feel close to the actions. The Humane Society’s Facebook page is a great example of a nonprofit using social media well.
Getting personal with your donors isn’t limited to social media. Some nonprofits have even turned their websites into personal online experiences for donors. The Nature Conservancy’s project My.Nature.org project is a great example of this. They feature member photos, stories, and a “My Impact” action area.
3. Make it Easier to Donate
One of the most basic rules of online fundraising is that you must make it easy. By the time a person finishes filling out all your required forms, he or she will have lost motivation to donate!
There are numerous ways that you can make it easier and faster for your donors to give. For starters, make sure that it is blatantly obvious how to give – such as by putting “donate now” buttons in prominent places. Don’t forget to put the buttons on your social media pages and in marketing emails too!
Nonprofits also need to increase the number of payment options for donations – and not just credit cards and PayPal. Make sure that you have setup recurring donation options for donors so they can keep on giving.
Mobile donation options are becoming increasingly important for nonprofits (consider the fact that 7% of young people donated via mobile websites or text message). Click & Pledge is one platform for mobile donations which is specifically designed for nonprofits.
All nonprofits should also register with donation portals like JustGive.org and NetworkforGood.org. Registration at these portals is completely free for nonprofits. Web users in a philanthropic mood can visit the portals, look for charities and then donate to them through the website.
4. Don’t Wait for Donators to Come to You
Nonprofits have been using door-to-door canvassing as a donation strategy for decades because it allows them to go directly to potential donators. So, why aren’t more nonprofits using this strategy online too?
Instead of waiting for potential donators to find your website online (there probably aren’t many people searching for “Your Cause”), why not go directly to your target audience? Since there are forums and online communities for just about every imaginable interest, you should have no problem finding people who would support your cause. For example, you can go to a nature-lovers’ forum to talk about your current campaign to save the Clean Water Act, then send them to your website where they can donate. Or, for a broader range of exposure, why not run a PPC ad seeking donations on websites related to your cause?