What are the challenges of fundraising online? Keeping cash flowing into your nonprofit is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face as a charity. With more people staying home and sponsorships moving to a digital model, additional issues arise.
According to the Blackbaud Institute Index, charitable giving saw a 25.3% increase in the last year. For several years, digital donations rose steadily. Raising funds online seems to be a long-term trend, so figuring out how it works best for your organization helps with cash flow.
The many advantages of online fundraising include lower advertising costs and instant cash influx. However, every nonprofit faces some difficulties when raising money on the internet. Here are the most common ones and how to solve them for your charity.
1. Knowing Your Audience
Before you market your nonprofit online, you must understand your target audience. You can waste a lot of money throwing ads at people who don’t match your typical donor profile.
Take the time to create a buyer persona, so you understand the type of person who gives to your organization. Where do they live? What is their age? Once you’ve laid out all the demographics, take a look at the psychographics. What drives your donors to give to an outfit such as yours?
2. Generating Donor Excitement
Online giving may have the added struggle of getting donors excited about giving. When you host an in-person event, you can invite speakers, those who’ve received help from your organization and add some bells and whistles to encourage people to write a check.
It’s a little more difficult to tap into the peer pressure mindset present at many fundraising dinners and auctions. People miss out on the chance to socialize with other supporters. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to generate excitement.
You might wonder how can you keep donors engaged online. Get an influencer to speak virtually, offer chat rooms and breakout sessions, follow-up via email. Think about the types of activities you have at in-person events and translate them into virtual models.
3. Figuring Out Payment Methods
When you host in-person events, you likely collect checks and cash. Online fundraising is a bit different. People are much more likely to pay via a third-party vendor or using a credit card. Some will use ACH withdrawal from their checking accounts.
Keep your life simple and tap into third-party integrations via Apple Pay, Google, PayPal and Stripe. Consider if accepting cyber currency might give you an additional edge. Pay careful attention to the fees associated with any payment service you use.
Most of the third-party providers allow donors to set up recurring payments so encourage monthly giving subscriptions. You should also share an address for those who prefer to stay old school and mail a check.
4. Creating an Engaging Website
Your website can make or break your fundraising efforts. Look at the page through the eyes of potential donors. Why should they part with their money? What would make you want to give?
Share stories about people or causes you’ve helped in the local community. Add videos where you highlight significant projects you’ve been involved with. Use headlines to summarize what the goal of each page on your site is. For example, if the user lands on a page set up to collect donations for a local family, highlight the family and explain where the money goes.
Don’t forget to add a call to action (CTA) button. People need to know the next step to move into the donation funnel. Make it clear where they go next.
5. Tapping Into Social Media
The Global Trends in Giving Report indicates about 37% of contributors point to social media as inspiring them to give. Around 36% say it is most likely to convince them to sign up for repeat donations.
However, figuring out how to get the word out on social media isn’t easy. Your best bet is to involve people who already believe in your cause. Share content on your website and then post it to your page. Ask your followers to share with others, comment, like, etc.
6. Team Up With a Corporation
If your donations are down, one thing you can do is team up with a local company. Look for someone who shares your passion. One example might be a chain of garden stores teaming up with a charity working to improve the local environment or plant trees.
Most corporations have a team of marketing professionals. Try to work with them and come up with a concept. Using the same example from above, the garden centers could offer a tree planted for every five trees a customer buys.
In addition to a concept, ask if they’ll send out a note to their employees and customers about your organization. Let people know they can help by sending in a tax deductible donation. Remember, people can only deduct so much of their charitable giving now.
If you choose the right company to work with, they may even have a spokesperson who can reach out to their fan base and share what you do. The more people you reach, the more chances you have to bring in donations.
Smaller Donations But More of Them
It’s unusual for people to give large donations online. The amounts tend to be smaller. However, they are also more likely to sign up for repeat amounts, helping your cash flow month after month. You have to build the relationship somewhere.
Start online and then tap into a one-on-one relationship with those who are your most avid supporters. They may later give you larger donations or leave part of their estate to the cause.