7 Secrets to Increasing Online Fundraising Results and Wowing Donors | npENGAGE

7 Secrets to Increasing Online Fundraising Results and Wowing Donors

By on May 17, 2012


Online Fundraising has become a popular and successful method for nonprofits trying to increase revenue and acquire new donors (good software helps).

While it does not yet amount to the bulk of fundraising for most nonprofits, online giving grew by 13 percent from 2010 to 2011.

The only vertical experiencing a decline from 2010 to 2011 was International Affairs organizations. According to our 2011 Online Giving Report, the sector’s online earnings dropped by 55 percent; however, the drop was likely due to a spike in online donations coming from the Haiti earthquake in January 2010.

Despite the large drop in online fundraising for International Affairs organizations since 2009, nonprofits in all verticals have seen double-digit growth with International Affairs organizations leading the way, realizing 75 percent growth.

Looking to help your organization get better at raising money online? Here are seven tips that will help you improve your online fundraising efforts.

If your organization is new to online giving:


Look at Web Traffic

Start by scrutinizing your web traffic.

How many people visit your organization’s website each month? Do they pop up just once, or are they frequent visitors? Are they visiting your key online fundraising pages? Once you start to learn more about your web traffic you can make intelligent decisions about how to optimize your website to achieve the best online fundraising results.

Pay Attention to Referrals

Where do your visitors come from?

Search engines? Social media sites? Partner websites? You should be getting roughly 40 percent of your online traffic from search engines, so plug your organization’s name, key event, or fundraising program into a search engine and observe where your site falls on the list of results.

If it’s not first, improve your website promotion, and educate yourself about making the site easier for potential donors to find.

Make the Ask

Make sure you have implemented a specific online ask. The ask should be accompanied by a precise message tailored to the demographic you are targeting. This allows your organization to create and continue strong relationships with its donors.

If your organization wants to improve its online giving:


Know Your Audience

While you might find your website easy to navigate, it might not be so simple for website visitors who don’t know much about you.

Have friends or peers who aren’t familiar with your site take a look at it, and explore their feedback. Remember, audience anaylsis should be a key part of your online strategy. 

Make it your goal to put the needs of potential donors’ first, and discuss with colleagues what to change so that the most pertinent information is easily accessible. Return visits and referrals are more likely if a donor can effortlessly steer through your organization’s site, understand your mission and know how their money will be used.

Keep Messaging and Branding Unified

It’s also important to make all your online communication uniform, streamlining the donor’s experience and making a return or referral more likely.

Images and messages should complement each other, and organizations should personalize any literature – email, website, etc. – to display ownership and stay on-message.

When a donor receives online communications that are jumbled or inconsistent with past communication, it creates confusion and decreases the likelihood of repeated donations.

If your organization is an above-average performer that wants to make the most of the online component:


Make the RIGHT Ask

Do not get too comfortable with your online ask, even when reeling in large donations.

Analyze what you request of your donors. Is your ask always the average of your total online fundraising revenue? Does your ask vary with each donor, and does it adjust based on the donor’s giving history?

Being smarter about your ask, if executed properly, can help you receive more.

Follow Up Relentlessly

After receiving a donation, make sure to follow up with the donor. You can use nonprofit online fundraising software to help with this.

Update them with your organization’s progress and show them how their gift has made a difference. Engaging donors with a look at how they helped your organization make a difference in the world will encourage conversation and future donations.

For more information, download Blackbaud’s free 2011 Online Giving Report.


2011 Online Giving Report

Download the complete 2011 Online Giving Report to learn more about the 13% YoY growth in online giving, the double-digit growth since 2009 and the reasons your nonprofit should invest in its online fundraising program.
Download the 2011 Online Giving Report Now!



Frank Barry, formerly worked at Blackbaud helping nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

Comments (4)

  • Stockdonator says:

    Woow Nice article….Given tips are really too good.

  • Hi Frank,

    Sam from Go Get Funding (http://gogetfunding.com) here.

    You make some great points that all types of fundraisers should pay attention to. I particularly like your point on following up relentlessly – that is something a lot of people miss.

    Another point I’d like to add is for fundraisers to perform A/B testing. Using a tool such as the Google Website Optimizer helps find what message REALLY works. There’s nothing like hard data to back a decision.

    For example, a slight text change we made on fundraiser pages led to a 19% increase in visitors clicking the ‘Donate Now’ button.

    It’s definitely worth investing the time towards split testing.


  • Brooks says:

    like this helps a lot! If you need more support as a cause with: social media,
    promoting your cause, your events, growing your supporter data base, growing
    revenue, you can join Voucherry. It’s simple and free. They combine the online
    purchases with every day donations to causes.

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