Online Fundraising Tips

Online Fundraising Tips

Excerpted from "Online Fundraising: A Startup Guide; The Basics You Need to Know", by Joanne Fritz.

This is an excellent guide discussing many aspects of online fundraising. Click this link to and find more ideas and examples.

  1. Before you begin, register your fundraiser with your local and/or state government(s) if required to do so. Remember that you might need to register, not only in your own state, but in other states where you are raising money as well.
  2. Don't just put a "donate now" button up on your website and expect the cash to roll in. Tell people over and over about your on-line donation option. Use your newsletters, emails, and direct mail letters to let them know how easy it is for them to donate online. Include your website address on business cards, brochures, handouts etc.
  3. Don't limit your online fundraising to your website. Explore using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites as part of your campaign. Social media is very big with all ages, from young professionals to baby boomers.
  4. Know how you will process credit card donations, and have it set up and working before you begin. You can create your own system, but it is easier and faster to use a system like PayPal or Authorize.net. Consider that people are generally more familiar with PayPal, so they may trust your site and make donations online more freely when you display the PayPal logo.
  5. Your website doesn't need to be flashy. It does need to be easy to navigate, easy to understand, and attractive. Remember that people of all ages will be visiting your site; make it pleasing to all ages.
  6. Don't spam, and don't overwhelm your donors with too much email so you look like a spammer.
  7. Use a variety of methods to raise money - not just email and online donations. Not everyone likes to give in the same way. Give people options, such as direct mail, through email links to a donation page, through a recurring gift, or to various fundraising campaigns.
  8. Add a large attractive "donate now" button on every page of your website. Add heartwarming stories; include a photo. Keep it short - not over one page long, but be sure to include all the details needed.
  9. Invite people to volunteer. Studies show that people who volunteer donate 10 times more money to charity than those who don't. Also, 67 per cent of people who volunteer donate to the organization where they help out.
  10. Showcase donors; tell how their gifts help. Include testimonials, success stories, photos of donors, and photos of people receiving help. Remember that many organizations are asking people for support.
  11. Explain what can be accomplished by different levels of donations. People want to know that their donation, no matter how small or large, is making a difference to real people or solving real problems.
  12. Develop different versions of your campaign to target specific types of donors. A slightly different letter may appeal to a young person more than a senior citizen.
  13. Be sure to say thank you. Most nonprofits do not thank online donors as well as they do those who give through the mail. Perhaps this is why retention of online donors is a problem. Have a great post-donation page on your website. Then send an email thank-you - not just a receipt. For larger donations you will want to send a than-you letter via mail.