Tips to improve your online fundraising

1.      The ABC of why some charities are not as successful as others in their online fundraising:

  • Agility (or lack of) - unprepared to take advantage of emerging opportunities. For example, not mobilising the supporter base to set-up their own peer-to-peer fundraising pages to raise funds through their network; or missed opportunities to set-up ‘mini-campaigns’ that leverage on the current topics to connect with their audience.
  • Bureaucracy – taking too long to get internal ‘approvals’ for an overall digital fundraising strategy and then having got the strategy approved, decision makers directing tactics based on their personal preferences / biases that are not aligned with the approved strategy. Eg: if raising sustained donations is the strategy then setting the online fundraising page to regular-giving as default option is a tried, tested and impactful tactic. Do not veer away from plan just for a few one-off gifts!
  • Content – insipid ‘please support’ type of message does not raise much funds. Human-interest content that nudges giving, does. Re-purpose some of your best stories from your annual report, newsletters or headline from the best performing direct mail, to produce excellent online fundraising appeals. And if story-telling is not your forte, then just say it as it is - the reason why the reader has an opportunity to make a tremendous impact on a person, planet or policy through this effort. Authenticity is a powerful fundraising tool.

2.      Key factors that charity leaders need to recognise about digital fundraising

Usha Menon online fundraising

3.       Implementing the ‘way forward’

  • Learn to flip the outreach funnel - Get Board members, staff, key supporters, volunteers, corporate donors to outreach to their own network and raise funds. Do not be constrained by the belief that only the charity should be the one organising all its fundraising efforts. Reviewing the ‘offline’ supporter base and identifying those who will help you take this effort online.  
  • Develop an editorial calendar and content map that is focused on the reader/ audience’s experience - eg: during the Covid19 lockdown, I ran a free webinar and one idea suggested (which some charities quickly adopted and benefited) was to ask their online audience to donate their ‘petrol money saved’ during the lockdown to help the beneficiaries of the charity. This is what I mean by audience experience – relate to where the audience is at, rather than just information about the charity or the cause.
  • Use not just ‘giving-portals’ but also the charity’s own website, social media, email, WhatsApp groups to share human interest content about the charity’s mission – these are part of the content marketing strategy that raises more awareness and hence better response to the fundraising appeals. For example, consider if your chairperson, director for counselling or social worker, donor, volunteer can blog about their experiences working with your organisation. Provide tips and tools that can benefit the audience/ potential supporter in their journey related to the gap in the community that your organisation is trying to plug.

  Hope you find these tips of help in your charity fundraising. I would love to hear your top tips and experiences too. My other blogs can be found at www.ushamenonasia.com

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