The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Where Are You in a Digital World?

Online Fundraising Change #1: Get Online if You’re Not Already There
Do you know where your online donations are? In order to make the most of the technology and opportunities available today, your organization needs to have the basics of an online presence covered:

  • A well-branded, easy-to-use website
  • The ability to process secure donations
  • An email campaign tool that complies with federal anti-spam laws
  • A website analytics tool (like Google Analytics)
  • A social media strategy
  • A listening tool (so you can monitor online conversations)
  • Great follow-up for online donors and supporters
  • Smooth integration between online and offline efforts
  • Regular reporting on all of your efforts (so you can learn and correct as you go)

Why are all of these components so important?

  • Individual donors contribute a whopping three-quarters of all charitable giving. In focusing on individual givers, you need to realize that more and more of these people are donating and taking action online.
  • The Internet is where donors turn first during a crisis. After the tragic earthquake in Haiti, the vast majority of donations in response to the crisis were made online or by phone. People gave via social networks, on news websites, and on nonprofits’ websites.
  • Online donors tend to be younger than offline donors (boomers or younger) and their gifts average around $100 on nonprofit websites (less on social networks). We want more donors like them! This is the era of the citizen activist and the wired fundraiser; if you aren’t able to fully engage with these folks online via your own site as well as social networks, you are in trouble.

To ensure success with your online presence, let’s turn to the ways your messaging needs to evolve.

Online Fundraising Change #2: Do the Marketing So the Technology Works
At a major conference at which I was speaking, a man interrupted my fundraising session with a confession: “I have a DonateNow button from your organization [Network for Good], but it doesn’t work.”

Very concerned and hoping to reassure him that our service team would make sure his page could receive donations properly, the man clarified his predicament: “No, the page works fine. The problem is that no one is clicking on our donate button.”

That is a problem indeed.

Donate pages and Facebook fan sites don’t work without great messaging, compelling engagement, and marketing savvy. This year, make sure that all the online outreach you are performing has the necessary thinking behind it. To encourage donors to give online – or anywhere for that matter – you need to always answer four questions for them:

Why me? Show your audience why what you’re doing is personally relevant to them. They need to connect with your organization on a human level. Use pictures, tell stories, and do anything else that can help your audience relate.

Why now? Aside from year-end and post-crisis giving, you have to work to impart urgency and immediacy to your donors.

What for? People know you’re a nonprofit organization and you need donations to help your cause, but where exactly is a donor’s money going? Don’t just focus on need; explain the impact a donation will make. (More on this in Part Two of this series.)

Who says? Use trustworthy messengers – people you’ve actually helped or other donors – instead of just your staff and board. In studies people report friends and family are the most influential in determining where they give money.

Nonprofits have been neglecting these key messages for too long online, as if technology can do the hard work of convincing for us. It can’t! The time is now to fix any weak messaging or engagement strategies.

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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