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The Nonprofit's Guide for Digital Fundraising

As the digital world advances, there are new fundraising opportunities emerging that can drive impactful donations toward your nonprofit. Sticking to old forms of fundraising can leave your organization in the dust as others in your industry bound ahead. According to Double the Donation, online revenue increased by 23% in the past year for nonprofits using strategic digital fundraising methods. This form of fundraising has proven to be an effective method for nonprofits to make strides and generate more revenue for their missions.

Staying on top of changing trends will help you advance toward your long term goals. In comparison to traditional fundraising methods, nonprofit organizations can reach more donors and they can complete these initiatives efficiently. DickersonBakker put together a guide to help you understand digital fundraising and how you can incorporate these practices into your future campaigns.

What is Digital Fundraising?

Digital fundraising is a method for leveraging internet platforms and expanding the reach of nonprofits in order for nonprofit organizations to receive impactful gifts. To make the most out of your fundraising efforts, you need to tap into multiple areas of giving. With an increase in digital communications across industries, the use of online fundraising has proven to be an influential tool to aid in major giving initiatives. 

When it comes to online fundraising, there isn’t a single method to focus on. The internet is so vast and there are countless ways to connect with other people, meaning there’s an abundance of ways to receive donations to your organization. So, it’s important to have an understanding of the basics of digital fundraising before jumping in.

The Importance of Digital Fundraising

Digital fundraising is a customizable way to reach new audiences. No matter the size of your organization or the extent of your reach, there are tons of ways to connect with donors online. Incorporating digital fundraising strategies into your long term fundraising plan will strengthen your organization and make meaningful impacts among your community members. 

Enhanced Donor Retention

Thanks to the emergence of digital fundraising, 38% of online donors have come back to that same organization to donate the next year. Online giving opportunities make donating easier than ever, promoting a positive and engaging experience for both donors and the organization. Such convenience encourages donors to come back and get involved with the nonprofit again and again. 

Increased Efficiency

With digital fundraising, campaigns can be conducted with relatively little effort in comparison to traditional forms of fundraising. Posting on social media or sending out an email blast happens in just a few seconds, freeing up time for your team to focus on other tasks. 

Draw Attention to Your Mission

Digital fundraising strategies are highly accessible across a wide range of donors. This means more people will be introduced to your nonprofit and increase the number of donations you’ll receive. 

Plus, digital fundraising is highly customizable to share impactful messaging with the right people. As you reach more people in your community, they can share the message of your nonprofit, which then creates a ripple effect tying more people to your organization. 

Platforms for Your Digital Fundraising Campaign

Choosing the right platform for your digital fundraising campaign can help you cast a wide net to reach new prospects. On every platform, there are techniques to learn that will help you make the most out of your fundraising strategy. 

Spend some time getting to know the platforms that you choose, what kinds of materials are expected to perform well, and the demographics of those audiences. That way, you’ll be able to cater your effort toward your prospects and show them the value of your mission. Additionally, the size of your organization and the resources that you have to work with can help you narrow down where you choose to launch your campaign.

Social Media Platforms

Social media fundraising can look different across platforms, and each one comes with their own list of benefits. Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are excellent for short-form posts that will lead prospects back to your nonprofit. 

On the other hand, Facebook and YouTube are great places to create long posts and dive into the messaging of your nonprofit right away while also encouraging users to view your campaign. You might want to consider using a mix of social media platforms in order to extend your reach even further. 

Email Campaigns

One easy way to encourage donors to show support through your nonprofit is through a simple email campaign. In fact, emails have contributed to approximately 28% of online revenue for nonprofits. 

Emails are excellent because you can reach a wide audience with customized messaging in no time. You’ll encourage people to get involved with your organization and develop a strong donor base. 

Landing Pages

Landing pages are a part of your nonprofit’s website to connect donors to your campaign. A landing page can be tied to any of the other platforms, giving prospective donors a location to turn to after receiving an email or social media notification from your organization. This is where your donors can take action and support your mission.

Donation Websites

There’s a wide range of websites dedicated to helping nonprofits gather their donations. These are excellent tools to wrap up all of your resources into one easy to use website. Plus, several donation websites have integration capabilities to make all functions streamlined for your team as well as for donors. 

This might be a good option if you want to host your campaign outside of your nonprofit’s website. Plus, these sites often have intuitive tools to make setting up your campaign quick and easy.

5 Digital Fundraising Ideas to Help You Get Started

Now that we’ve gone over the different types of platforms for digital fundraising, let’s discuss some ideas for using these platforms to boost your online giving strategy.

1. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Creating personalized campaigns can help your nonprofit reach prospective donors in a unique way. This method of fundraising relies on an individual to share their support with your organization, often through social media, and campaign on behalf of your nonprofit. Sharing stories about how a person had a meaningful connection with your nonprofit can really boost support and encourage others to give. 

2. Personalized & Automated Email Outreach

An email campaign will send messages straight into the hands of your donors. With the right tools, you can also personalize your messages and automate outreach by scheduling them to be sent at specific times or as a follow-up after a specific action is taken. This is an excellent way to remind previous donors as well as new prospects about the benefits of supporting your nonprofit.

3. Text-to-Give Opportunities

It seems as though everyone has a phone in their pocket at all times. Leverage this opportunity to notify donors of your campaign by sending them a short text message about your nonprofit. This format for digital fundraising can be as simple or complex as you need it to be and it’s an excellent way to raise awareness for your organization.

4. Facebook Campaigns

If you’re thinking about diving into social media as a way of boosting your fundraising efforts, Facebook is a great place to start. Similar to an email campaign, you can create posts that capture the attention of your audience and drive them to your organization. Facebook can cater to both short-form and long-form posting, as well as video formats. 

Additionally, you can use Facebook Ads to appear on even more feeds and reach more prospects. These will require strategic visuals and engaging call-to-actions in order to connect Facebook users with your nonprofit. 

5. Donation Pages

A donation page acts as a vital turning point in your digital fundraising campaign. This page is where donors will access the information that they need and take action toward supporting your mission. On your donation page, provide an overview of the goal of your campaign as well as payment options, such as an embedded form using PayPal or Stripe.

Digital Fundraising Best Practices

Here are some digital fundraising best practices to help you get started with your campaign. Having this knowledge will assist you when executing your fundraising strategies and allow you to reach your donors in meaningful and memorable ways.  

Use Concise Messaging

If donors don’t understand where their gifts are going, they likely won’t participate in your fundraiser. With concise messaging and easy-to-follow instructions, donors should have a clear understanding of why you’re seeking donations and where that money will go. When prospects are struggling to understand your goals or find where to donate, they might turn away from your campaign. 

Use Engaging Visuals

Marketing materials are going to help you really drive home the message behind your nonprofit. Including cohesive visuals across your campaign will establish your brand across platforms so you’ll become recognizable among donors. This will help build trust and familiarity so donors will come back to your organization again and again. 

Keep User Experience in Mind

A good user experience can make or break a person’s decision to give to your organization. Try to understand which platforms will be easy for engagement and how people might interact with your campaign. 

Incorporating a mobile-friendly approach into your digital campaign can provide more on-the-go opportunities for impactful giving. In fact, The Blackbaud Institute reports that 28% of donors make donations through their mobile devices. 

Additionally, a mobile fundraising campaign is an easy way to encourage your donors to share your mission with others. This will expand your network and help you reach a wide range of prospective donors, or just introduce more people to the mission that drives your nonprofit. 

Make Donating Easy

With the emergence of online engagement, it’s become quite difficult to hold the attention of an audience. If a person struggles to find what they’re looking for, they might click away instead of donating. That’s why your online fundraising strategy should be easy for donors to navigate. Consider including multiple donation options to choose from, including one-time submissions or recurring monthly payments, to make the giving process even easier. 

Thank Your Donors

Gratitude can have a lasting impact on your nonprofit organization. After you receive a donation, make sure you are responding back to your donors to emphasize their impact. Developing a connection between donors and your nonprofit will help to encourage donors to continue giving or get involved in other ways. This kind of engagement can increase donor retention and help nonprofits reach their long term goals. 

Tracking Performance of Digital Fundraising Strategies

When you decide to incorporate digital methods into your fundraising strategy, don’t forget to track important metrics. Without tracking your progress, you might be blindly navigating through your strategy, ultimately extending the time it will take to reach your fundraising goals. Instead, gather information to help outline benchmarks, enhance your future endeavors, and increase your fundraising results. 

Understanding your metrics can help you make informed decisions regarding your digital fundraising campaigns. With donor analytics and fundraising data in your hands, tweak future strategies to perform better or replicate tactics that served you well. 

Some metrics you might want to track include:

  • Money raised
  • Frequency of contact
  • Website page views
  • Social media conversion rates
  • Number of donors
  • Average donation size 

These are just a handful of items to consider when tracking fundraising performance. It’s best to focus on the metrics that will provide the most value for you and your organization.

Make the Most Out of Digital Fundraising

Fundraising is an essential part of any nonprofit. With strong donor relationships and a thoughtful fundraising strategy, you can reach wide audiences and achieve your fundraising goals in no time. 

If you’re new to digital fundraising, try teaming up with a digital fundraising consultant from DickersonBakker. Our team will work closely with you to understand your goals and outline a plan to bring in major gifts. From gathering donor insights to strategy consulting, we’ll help you improve the effectiveness of your fundraising efforts. 

Digital fundraising might be the right tool to help you unlock your potential and share your mission with those in your community. To find out more about support from the fundraising team at DickersonBakker, reach out to us today!

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