13 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Online Fundraising
When you’re in the day-to-day work of fundraising, sometimes you can find yourself doing the same old things. Maybe it’s because those things have been working pretty well. Or, maybe it’s because that’s just how your nonprofit organization has always done it.
But in our work with nonprofits over the past twelve years, we’ve discovered something: There’s almost always an opportunity to take your fundraising up a notch by tweaking your campaigns or trying something new. And, boosting your fundraising is always a good thing — especially in today’s world situation.
With these thoughts in mind, our team gathered some of our top tips for things you can do today to boost your online fundraising:
- Make your donation forms easy to find. This might sound very simple. But, it’s something that can be easily overlooked. Make sure the “donate” buttons/links for your donation forms are in a can’t-miss location in your website, campaign pages, and emails.
- Analyze your ask levels. Check that the ask levels on your donation forms make the most sense. For example, if the average gift is higher than the first two or three options, consider increasing the levels.
- Offer an option for donors to cover transaction fees. When someone makes a donation to your organization through your website, you’re typically charged a transaction fee by your payment processor that effectively reduces each donation by some percentage (often around 3 percent). By providing an option on your online donation form for donors to cover the cost of transaction fees, you can significantly boost your overall funds raised.
- Embed a matching gift service in your donation form. Make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table. Companies like Double the Donation make it simple to embed their matching gift search bar on web pages and donation forms. Working with a matching gift service makes it much easier for your donors to seek matching gifts and your nonprofit to track expected gift matches.
- Add a monthly giving pop-up. When donors make an online donation, present them with the option to make it a recurring gift through the convenience of automated monthly payments. This approach encourages donors to give more over time.
- Review your sustaining gift credit card expirations. Sustaining gift donors don’t always remember when their credit cards are expiring. This inevitably leads to declined transactions, and then you’re left to follow up with donors to update their information — possibly missing out on months of sustaining gift donations in the process. Be sure to proactively review sustaining gift credit card expirations so you don’t miss out on those donations.
- Don’t assume you shouldn’t ask. When world or economic events make for uncertain times, donating might be more difficult for some people. But, don’t assume you shouldn’t ask. Others are ready and willing to help. Just make sure your messaging acknowledges and is sensitive to current events.
- Tie dollars to real items. Associate the donation levels for your campaign or event with what the funds will provide for your organization. For example, letting supporters know that their donation will help feed a family of four or send a child to school for a year is more impactful than simply asking for a specified amount of money.
- Leverage dynamic asks. Use your online fundraising and constituent relationship management tools to specify ask levels based on donors’ previous donation levels. For example, if a donor previously donated $20, you might start your ask levels for that donor at $20. For one that donated $50, you might start there. This is an especially effective approach for Giving Tuesday and end of year campaigns, when you are most likely communicating with existing donors.
- Target your email audience. Send more personal and targeted emails by segmenting your audiences (for example, non-donors vs. existing donors) and customizing messages based on their interaction with your organization. Be sure your messages address people in ways that make sense. This doesn’t have to be complicated but, for example, if someone just gave, you should either suppress them from the email or talk to them differently than you would talk with someone who hasn’t donated recently.
- Use A/B tests for emails. Determine what email message work best by creating two different versions of an email. Send one to a subset of your list, and the other to a different subset of your list. Check after a couple of days to see which email performed better, and then send that email to the full list. The best way to approach A/B tests is to vary only one or two things in the email (such as the subject line or the image) so you can better understand what element made the difference.
- Use a multi-channel approach. Promote your campaign using various channels, including phone, in-person, print, email, text, and social media to reach a broader audience. Build a communications plan that incorporates all of the various channels.
- Use Google Ad Grants. Google Ad Grants offers eligible nonprofits $10,000 per month of in-kind Google Ads advertising to promote their missions on Google search result pages. This offers a tremendous opportunity for nonprofits. Read The Nonprofit’s Introductory Guide to Google Ad Grants to get started. Also, consider getting expert help in setting up and optimizing your Google Ad Grants. Cathexis Partners offers affordable services to get you going, make sure you maintain eligibility, and optimize your use of the grant.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of these approaches, or would like help implementing any of them, contact us at Cathexis Partners. We’re ready to help you take your online fundraising to the next level!