Guest blog by Adam Weinger
If you go to a public place, whether it’s a coffee shop, bus station, or university campus, you’ll notice that nearly everyone is on their cell phones, laptops, or tablets.
People are constantly connected to each other through the many accessible avenues on the internet.
Nonprofits are no exception! In fact, 3 of the top 4 ways that nonprofits connect with donors and supporters are now digital.
Whether it’s through online donation pages, social media, text-to-give technology, or some other digital outreach, nonprofits are learning that in order to raise more money and connect with their supporters, they need to go online.
But if your organization has only ever received donations over the phone or via direct mail appeals, it can be challenging to know where to start when it comes to online fundraising.
Luckily, we have some quick and easy tips for perfecting your online donation appeals!
Read on to discover the top 4 strategies to use when asking for donations online. (For more general information, check out Double the Donation’s ultimate guide to asking for donations.)
1. Keep donors focused.
If you want to have a high online donation page conversion rate (e.g., the number of people that arrive on your donation page that actually end up making a contribution), you need to keep your donors focused.
What does this mean?
- Removing extraneous links on your donation page that might lead donors away.
- Being clear about where their donations are going.
- Having a clean, streamlined donation page (take a look at this article for examples).
- Offering different giving levels.
- Having a secure online donation page.
- And more!
Whether you’re reaching out to multichannel consumers, standard consumers, or anyone in between, the key is to keep a supporter focused on the task at hand: donating!
By maintaining a simple donation page and reminding your donors of why they want to support your cause, you’ll be able to raise more money online!
2. Make use of social media.
Fundraising, in general, never just relies on one source. Your online fundraising strategy, therefore, should be no exception.
Part of making the perfect online donation appeal is using all of the resources at your nonprofit’s disposal.
One of these resources, of course, is social media.
If your nonprofit is already using social media to reach donors, you’re already in a great position to start asking for donations via sites like Facebook and Twitter.
However, you do not want to overwhelm your followers and supporters with donation appeals; in fact, you should probably limit your donation asks to once a week or so.
The most important thing to remember about using social media to ask for donations is that it should be a dialogue, not a monologue. You have to talk with and to your donors not at them.
Nonprofits have many resources at their disposal, including opportunities to raise more money online simply by promoting your online donation form, crowdfunding page, or fundraising event on social media.
3. Combine your offline and online fundraising strategies.
Fundraising doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You can’t expect to only raise money online.
Traditional fundraising methods can still be used in conjunction with your other online strategies.
What does this look like in practice, though? Let’s examine some of the ways you can combine online and offline fundraising strategies:
- Provide the URL for your online donation page in your direct mail appeals. Some donors may not want to get out their checkbook, look for a stamp, and drop an envelope in their mailbox. If you direct them to your online donation page in your mailed appeals, they can skip all those steps and donate quicker!
- Encourage text-to-give and mobile donations at your fundraising events. What better opportunity to urge your supporters to give on the go than when they’re at one of your fundraising events? Have one of your speakers instruct donors on how to give with their smartphones and voila.
- Mention mobile and online giving in your in-person meetings. Face-to-face meetings are often reserved for larger donations like major gifts, but it never hurts to mention your online donation form to all of your donors–whether they give $20 or $20,000.
By incorporating your online fundraising strategies with offline ones, you’ll be able to appeal to those donors that are technologically savvy as well as the ones who prefer more traditional communication methods.
4. Say thank you more than once.
One of the biggest components of asking for donations through any channel is to be appreciative once a supporters makes a contribution.
When this concept is applied to online fundraising, it takes an interesting turn.
Because giving online often creates somewhat of a distance between the donor and the nonprofit (it’s a relatively impersonal process compared to donating in person or over the phone), it’s imperative that the acknowledgement portion create a stronger connection between the two parties.
Your online donation form should include an acknowledgement page once a contribution has been made.
But the gratitude should not stop there!
Make sure that you follow up with a confirmation email as well as a thank you card or phone call to the donor.
Additionally, any time you ask for another donation, make sure you reference and acknowledge the previous contributions (when applicable). This will reassure the donor that they aren’t just an ATM for your organization. They are worth more than the money in their wallets!
And there you have it: the four best tips for making the perfect online donation appeal to your donors. Whether you already have a strong internet presence or you have just started out with digital fundraising, these strategies can be used to improve your fundraising efforts.
About the author: Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of employee matching gift tools and services to nonprofits. Have questions about matching gifts or Double the Donation’s service? You can connect with Adam on LinkedIn, Twitter, or via email.