With new channels — like email, social, mobile, and web — nonprofits have never had more opportunities to stay in touch with the people who matter most to their organization.
But even with all the tools available, you may feel that your organization still has room for improvement when it comes to generating donations online.
Don’t panic. A few small adjustments in your strategy can make a big difference in how your contacts perceive you and how likely they are to contribute.
To keep things simple, here are 5 steps you can take to improve your online fundraising results:
Step 1: Understand the channels that matter
For a lot of organizations, the first step toward collecting donations online is to set up a donation form on their website.
That’s a great start! But you also need to make sure you’re using the right channels of communication to get your donation page in front of the right people.
With email, for example, you’re able to reach your audience in the place they go every day — their inbox. With customizable email templates, you can create professional-looking email newsletters and announcements with information about your organization and how prospective donors can get involved.
With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, you’re able to communicate directly with people who support your cause, and leverage the power of social word-of-mouth to attract new donors to your organization.
Both email and social media work best when you understand which devices your audience is using to read your messages or donate to your cause.
Step 2: Focus on accessibility
Once you start using email and social media to get your audience’s attention, you need to make sure you’re making it as easy as possible for them to get involved.
If you’re asking for donations online, are you also offering convenient online payment methods?
If you’re sending an email announcing your latest fundraiser, are you providing all of the necessary information someone would need to get involved?
Or, if you’re linking to an online donation form, are you offering an experience that functions across multiple devices?
Making your campaigns accessible will expand the size of your audience and provide more opportunities to reach your fundraising goals.
Step 3: Keep it simple
When asking for money, your first impulse might be to pull out all the stops in the hopes of winning people over.
But when it comes to fundraising, the simpler you can be the better.
For example, when you reach out to your contacts for donations through an email, make sure everything in that email relates back to your goal. Keep your paragraphs short and have a clear call to action.
Your donation process should also be incredibly streamlined. The more steps there are, the less likely it is someone will make the effort to complete their donation.
Step 4: Be specific
It makes sense that people are more willing to give a gift if they know exactly where their money is going.
Get specific by laying out different donation amounts and listing exactly what each donation will be able to finance. The more your audience knows, the more comfortable they’ll be with helping you.
You also should be very clear about timing. Create a sense of urgency and you’ll be rewarded with a much better response.
Step 5: Recognize that a donation is not a finish line; it’s just the starting point
Many organizations make the mistake of seeing a donation as an end goal instead of the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to nurture donor relationships is to simply ask them to stay connected.
Ask new donors to sign up for your email list, or encourage email contacts to connect with your organization on social media.
If you treat your donors like they’re VIPs of your organization, they’ll start to think of themselves that way as well. When you feel the timing is right, you can reach out to donors again and encourage them to take an even bigger jump by being part of your monthly gift program.
We recently launched our Donation campaign in the Constant Contact Toolkit. Using this tool, your supporters can donate online, from any device! Learn more here.