Online fundraising is here to stay. It is the fastest growing area of fundraising and is joining direct mail fundraising in a multichannel world.
Is your program up to the demands of the market? Or is it just limping along or in need of a serious update? This is a fast moving target and keeping up and modifying your approach is fundamental.
Here are 11 tips to get you into the game.
1. Get Legal
Include information about the option in all of your direct mail campaign literature. Put together a special promotion for online giving using your email list and your mailing list.
3. Explore All Your Options
How will you process credit card donations? Do you want to set up your own system? Or do you want to engage a company that provides that service for you? Would you like to be able to offer recurring donations to your supporters?
You don't need a flashy website, but you do need an attractive one that is easy-to-understand and navigate. Consider too the various generations that will be using your site. Design it in a way that will please all ages.
Don't spam, and don't look like a spammer. Don't overwhelm your donors with too much email, and don't use email to the exclusion of other methods of fundraising. Online fundraising should be only one part of a well-balanced portfolio of strategies.
Everyone has a preference for communicating and donating...by mail, online, or from their mobile phones. Make sure you accommodate as many of them as possible. See this great example from the Red Cross.
Getting people to volunteer is one of the best methods of donor cultivation. Indeed, a study from the Association of Fundraising Professionals found that people who are asked to give of their time before being asked to donate will ultimately give more money to that organization.
9. Showcase Donors and What Their Gifts Really Accomplish
Provide information about how a specific level of donation will work. Soles4Souls has a good donor page that tells exactly what each donation level will buy.
As your expertise and experience with online fundraising advances, think about segmenting your audience. This will require good record keeping and growing a large enough list that there is something to segment. Segment based on age, gender, income, interests, previous giving history, geography, or role, such as donor or volunteer.
Develop versions of your email campaigns to fit targeted groups and then test. Testing involves breaking down a particular group into smaller groups and testing different versions of your copy. Track the results and you will soon get a feel for what kinds of appeals work for whom.