Is Online Fundraising Right for Your Non-Profit?
Guest Post by Rob Wu
Of course it is — you’re online right now, aren’t you? So you’re already on the right track!
Your nonprofit’s donors are online. They’re shopping there. They’re interacting with friends. They’re watching their favorite shows. And, if you’re doing things right, they’re following your nonprofit on social media, your website, and through email.
Your donors are also giving online and if you aren’t making an effort to reach them there, then it’s likely they’re giving to other organizations. The 2017 M+ R Benchmarks study reported that online revenue for nonprofits continues to grow by leaps and bounds. From 2015 to 2016, revenue increased by an impressive 16%.
Online fundraising has dramatically changed the way nonprofits raise money. It’s now easier than ever to reach current and prospective donors with less cost and more results. If you haven’t jumped on the online fundraising movement, there’s no better time like the present to get started.
Questions To Ask Before Fundraising Online
To determine whether online fundraising is right for your organization, ask yourself the following questions:
*Do you have an online audience through email or social media, or are you interested in increasing your presence?
*Do you or someone you know have basic technical capabilities?
*Do you want to raise money from an exponentially large online audience?
*Are your supporters eager to get involved as fundraisers in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, as storytellers, or by simply sharing your information with their networks?
*Do you have a staff member or volunteer available to manage online fundraising communications with donors (including emails, social media engagement, and the fundraising website)?
Is online fundraising right for your nonprofit? If you answered YES to these questions, then it’s high time you learn about the best ways to fundraise online. Here’s how to make online fundraising work for you.
4 Ways Non-Profits Can Raise Money Using Online Fundraising
Online fundraising isn’t just about setting up a website and asking for money, although your online fundraising strategy may include this. There are actually many ways that nonprofits can reach their donors online to make an “ask.”.
At CauseVox, we’ve noticed that nonprofits have greater online fundraising success if they strategically diversify their fundraising strategies. Here are 4 ways that your nonprofit can raise money online using online fundraising.
1. “Donate” Buttons
Donate buttons are the perfect way to add a “call-to-action” wherever your donor is online. Incorporate donate buttons by:
- Downloading a donate widget and adding it to your website or blog
- Activating the “Donate” feature on your nonprofit’s Facebook page
- Including a donate button within email correspondence
2. Email Fundraising
A study by Dunham & Company found that 20% of donors in 2015 gave in response to a fundraising email. That’s up significantly from a measly 6% in 2010. Couple that great news with the fact that a nonprofit raises an average of $36 for every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered (M+ R Benchmarks), and you can quickly see why email fundraising is a must-do for any nonprofit.
To maximize your email fundraising results, follow these best practices:
*Cater the email’s content to your audience. If you know their likes/interests, incorporate this into the body of the email. Likewise, always address the recipient/donor by name if possible. Personalization is key!
*Share a powerful story to give the recipient the fuel they need to make a donation. Ideally, you want the reader to connect emotionally to the story.
*Include a strong call-to-action so that person knows exactly what you want them to do (donate, volunteer, share, etc.)
Launching an email campaign to promote your fundraiser isn’t difficult, you just need the right tools and a plan in place.
3. Social Media
Per the 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report, 43% of Millennials were inspired to give through social media. And although we think of social media as a way of life for younger people, don’t be shocked if your baby boomer and Generation X donors are also inspired online. This same study found that these populations were also likely to be inspired on social media (21% and 24%, respectively).
What’s the best way to fundraise on social media? Simply put, there’s a lot of noise out there, so you have to stand out. To do this, try using people-based fundraising (using your supporters to help rally others for your cause) techniques.
*Ask your followers to share your fundraising campaign information with friends and family on their own social media pages
*Use social media ads from sites like Facebook and Instagram to target potential donors with campaign information. Focus on those that fit your target donor demographics and the friends of your current online connections.
*Create compelling content that encourages social media followers to learn more about your cause. Include pictures, stories, and videos to add a human element. Encourage supporters to engage with these posts.
4. Online Fundraising Websites
If you’re eager to run an online fundraising campaign, consider using an online fundraising platform. Whether you’re looking to implement a crowdfunding campaign or you want to get your supporters involved on a deeper level as personal fundraisers in a peer-to-peer fundraiser, creating an online fundraising website is a great, all-inclusive option to help you meet your goals
Online fundraising websites are custom-built sites that feature your nonprofit’s branding and all relevant campaign information. A high-performing website usually includes the following features:
- The story of your non-profit and of those you serve
- Media such as images or videos
- A blog feature that keeps donors updated on the campaign’s progress
- Email and social media integration to easily share the campaign
As you can see, when it comes to online fundraising, you definitely have options! Whether you want to try the subtle “Donate” button, or go all out with a peer fundraising-enabled website, as long as you go about it the right way, you’ll be getting in front of your donors exactly where they are—online!
Online fundraising has evened the playing field for nonprofits. At this point in time, you don’t need to rack up high fundraising and administrative costs to get in front people interested in giving to your cause.
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About the Author
Rob Wu is the CEO of CauseVox, an all-in-one online fundraising software for nonprofits and social good projects. Rob has raised over $200,000 for his own social good crowdfunding projects, and his work has been recognized by the Mayor of Austin and featured in the NYTimes, CNN, Christian Science Monitor, and WSJ.
Photo Credit: Perzon SEO