Guest post by: Laura Iancu, 123ContactForm
Online fundraising has seen a remarkable rise in the past few years. While beautiful charity galas and creative offline campaigns still gather support for nonprofits’ causes, they slowly slip away from donors’ focus. Being able to give with a minimum of effort and enabling donations with just a few mouse clicks or taps on a smart device has changed the way we want to act. According to the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, online revenue grew by 21% over 2011 totals, presenting nonprofits even more reasons to pull out the heavy gear and start online fundraising.
When adapting your strategy to online you may want to try multiple channels and approaches, although you will encounter metrics which may not be so promising. But keep in mind that your goal, on the first attempt is to try to find the appropriate solution for your nonprofit. With these experiments you can establish your own benchmarks. And, having them set accurately, can determine the outcome of any further actions.
Creating strategies for online fundraising, with a little of effort, will transform your donors into online supporters. So which are these extra ingredients when adopting an online reach for donations?
Online fundraising platforms – an easy way to get help for both monetary support and for spreading your cause on a network to gain supporters. This sites provides a well-balanced combination of social networks, online crowds and potential for campaign opportunities. Among the well-known platforms you can find Causes, Crowdrise, Network for Good and many more. Most of them work on building grassroots communities in support of specific nonprofits or more general issues. Besides the secure donation environment, most of them create also volunteering opportunities. Donors can feel comfortable in using such platforms, where they can be supporters of various causes and be as active as they want to be. Put your nonprofit out there and see how it performs. Keep in mind that each platform has eligibility requirements.
Donor oriented website – just as a business card, your website can have a decisive influence over the success of your donations. Having your own website gives you control on how you communicate with your public. There are a few elements which can help you in gaining new supporters. For instance branding elements can be a statement of your nonprofit, a compelling visual image to be remembered by. On the other hand, having a contact page with your email address, phone number and a contact form on your website is mandatory. You website has to show your potential donors three things: security, accessibility and transparency. Be open about your cause and the amounts of money you need and already have; provide multiple contact options to be reachable for any situations; and always use reliable methods to collect money.
Social presence – there is no perfect combination for a nonprofit when it comes to choosing the right social platform to communicate. Testing is the golden rule. Don’t let the wind decide your direction, stand up and find for yourself what suits you best. But exclude the option of not having any presence at all. Create a loop between your social accounts, website and all other places where your nonprofit is reachable on the web. Place the URL of your website in the description area, have social sharing buttons on your donation page, link to other online supporters which publicly promote your cause. In this way you create a circle where your potential donor cannot get lost.
Email campaigns – almost a classical method of approach which cannot be forgotten when trying to gather online supporters. In the last years, those working in the nonprofit area observed a decrease in email opening rate and even in the actual donation commitment. Thus, it’s an area requiring a fresh perspective. Find new ways of expanding your lists. For example, if you use an online donation form, you can create new leads on every new donation. Beside the efforts to have a good emailing list, make sure you remove inactive contacts. Having people which do not read your emails is not constructive. Be sure to conduct email campaigns to also steward your active donors, not only to gain new ones.
In the end, all these efforts to bring your donors online and transform them into supporters of your cause will create a powerful community around your nonprofit. Usually it is a reliable community that truly believes in your cause and will help you to achieve your goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura is part of the 123ContactForm team, an online form builder that can help everyone to create powerful contact forms. With a big passion for volunteerism, Laura is actively involved in several social and educational projects. You can reach her out on Twitter or Google+.