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Three Ways to Make Your Online Fundraiser Stand Out

July 9, 2012

With online giving topping $20 billion and growing by 35% or so year over year, having a fundraising website is an essential part of any nonprofit, school or community organization’s marketing mix. But with so many online fundraisers operating at once, there are a few drawbacks:

Oversaturation: Online fundraisers are easy and often free to set up. As a result, the number of opportunities to give online can be overwhelming to potential donors. The large number of options can paralyze someone’s decision-making, or it can force them to filter and ignore online fundraisers because they’re so inundated with them.

Easy to Ignore: Online fundraising can be easier and more cost-effective for the nonprofit–in theory. But it’s much easier to delete an email or ignore a Facebook post than it is to hang up on a live person or walk away from someone you’re speaking with–or even to toss a letter without opening it. Because we’re inundated with online fundraisers, it’s easy for us to ignore what’s put in front of us, or to be extremely choosy about which communications we decide to pay attention to.

So if you’re considering an online fundraiser, or just need a way to boost engagement and donations to your current fundraiser, what are your options? Here are three tips for helping increase the engagement and visibility of your online fundraiser:

Image1. Demonstrate Impact: Many times, donor pages just ask for general or suggested donation amounts. Recent studies have shown that people are more likely to donate if they understand the exact impact their gift will give. Suggest gift amounts by letting your potential donors know what $5, $50 or $500 will do for your organization and the cause you’re supporting. Make it tangible.

2. Be Personal & Original: This is especially important if your fundraising appeal is personal–as in, you’re soliciting family members and friends for donations. But even if you’re a larger organization, avoid stock photos and mission statement language. Instead, tell a moving story, explain why you’re in the business of supporting the cause, or use the opportunity to speak about how donations have made an impact in the past. If you have the opportunity, allow someone who’s been directly impacted by your organization to write for your donor page, or record a video interview and upload it.

3. Consider the Ask: Online fundraising lends itself perfectly to social network sharing. We encourage you to provide social sharing tools on any fundraising page because the more ways to get the word out about your cause, the better. But consider what you’re asking people when you post a link to your page to Facebook or tweet about it. For many people, sharing the link, liking it, commenting on it, or retweeting it makes them feel as though they’ve “done their part,” even if they haven’t donated any money. Be specific in your ask on social networks and try to incorporate some of the information about how valuable their $$ donation is to your cause. Better yet, cultivate an email list that you can send personal notes to. Email is more of a call to action to donate than Facebook or Twitter, for many people.

What are your techniques for keeping your online fundraising efforts fresh, relevant and effective?

 

 

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