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online fundraising

 How to Take Your Online Fundraising to the Next Level

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How to Take Your Online Fundraising to the Next Level

by Kate Vandeveld

These days, online fundraising is everywhere. And it should be – it’s a powerful tool that allows organizations to easily and efficiently reach a large number of people, securing donations from those who care most about their causes. Last year, online giving increased almost 14% over 2012 and continues to rise, making online fundraising increasingly compelling for a growing number of organizations. 

But because these online fundraising campaigns are so widespread, it’s important for organizations to utilize unique tactics that help them to stand out from the crowd. Here are some impactful ways you can take your online fundraising efforts to the next level:

1. Build a Team of Fundraisers

It is often difficult for individuals to make major gifts to the organizations they stand behind, no matter how passionate they are about the cause. So instead of pushing for large monetary contributions, ask supporters to join your ‘fundraising team’ and start their own personal campaigns. 

As an example, charity: water’s birthday campaigns are extremely successful, with nearly 60,000 people already participating. In these campaigns, individuals ‘donate’ their birthdays to the cause, asking for contributions from friends and family in lieu of presents. To learn more about crowdfunding platforms, and which one is right for you, check out our recent post.

2. Join a Day of Giving Campaign

Another really successful way to raise money for your organization is by participating in a ‘giving day.’ These campaigns are often hosted on crowdfunding platforms and support a group of organizations whose missions are similarly aligned or based in a common area. Because giving days support a number of organizations, they build a significant level of hype around a key issue. This is of great help to smaller organizations that lack marketing resources, as they are no longer solely responsible for spreading the word. Additionally, the fact that they are so short-term creates a sense of urgency that inspires people to donate in the moment instead of waiting until later when the opportunity to participate has passed.

One example of a giving day is the Spring2ACTion campaign hosted by Razoo on April 9th. The 24-hour Spring2ACTion campaign supported a variety of non-profits from the Alexandria area, raising over $1 million from over 7,500 unique donors in just one day. To get involved in a similar event, just search for giving days that are raising funds for organizations in your area or focused on your specific mission. If you’re interested in hosting your own giving day, check out the Knight Foundation’s Giving Day Playbook to get started. 

3. Give People Options 

A great way to maximize participation is to give people multiple ways to get involved. While some people prefer to donate cash, others might not have disposable income. However, most organizations have other needs that their supporters can fulfill without making strictly monetary contributions.

More Than Me, a non-profit organization that supports the education of women and girls in the West Point Slum of Liberia, provides its supporters with multiple ways that they can provide support – donating airline miles and hosting an awareness-raising ‘Promise Party,’ just to name just a few.

4. Develop Partnerships

Sometimes, the best way to get people to donate to your cause is by offering them something in return. This creates a mutually beneficial scenario for all parties: the organization, its partner companies, and its supporters.

goods for good, a non-profit that builds the financial capacity of African communities so they can provide orphan care, partners with outside companies that in turn donate a portion of their proceeds to the cause. For example, if you purchase a specific bottle of wine from a partner company, the company will make a $3 donation to goods for good in your name.

No matter your cause or campaign, there are numerous ways to take your online fundraising efforts to the next level. With a little extra creativity, you can provide people with new options for supporting your organization and ways to make an impact on the world.

What’s one way you’ve seen an organization’s fundraising strategy stand out from the rest? Let us know if the comments below, or post via Facebook and Twitter.

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5 Steps to Selling your Cause on Social Media

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5 Steps to Selling your Cause on Social Media

by Shanley Knox

If there is a single key to mastering the art of social media, it lies in building relationships. Whether you are looking to drive donations, draw volunteers, or promote awareness of a social issue, it's critical that your followers and fans feel personally involved in your organizational success.

The secret to beginning this process? Effective, personal engagement with people in your online network.  Here are five steps to guide you in your efforts:

1. Start By Getting Personal

In sales, it is often said that if someone feels that they can relate to you, they are much more likely to purchase. The same is true of causes. Does a follower share a similar love of your favorite book? Are they tweeting about a movie you just saw? Reach out to let them know how you felt about it. Take it a step further... if they tweet about their passion for a cause that relatees to your organization, reach out with a comment about why you care. It may seem like a small gesture to you, but facilitating this personal connection lets your followers (and potential followers) know you’re listening, and will ultimately help to create buy-in.

2. Cultivate a Relationship

Now that you've initiated contact, refrain from immediately selling your cause. Instead, let them know you value their perspective. If they are posting relevant content, retweet it. Answer their questions. Like their photos. Ask about their day. There’s no need to rush. They’ll be more likely to buy or donate once they feel that they can trust you.

Meanwhile, take some time to learn about who you're engaging with. If done properly, this process will produce valuable research for your organization...
     - What type of people follow you and/or respond to your outreach? 
     - What events or hobbies are they interested in?
     - Where do they live? 
     - How old are they?
     - What drives them to speak up? 

3. Address Their Pain Points

When it comes time to directly pitch your organization, think back to your research. Is there some way they personally relate to your cause? Use it to spark the conversation. Are they looking for ways to get involved, but have limited time to give? Present them with volunteer opportunities that require minimal commitment. Do they wonder where donations dollars go? Show them with pictures and stories. Knowing these pain points helps you to send them relevant information (in 140 characters, no less). It will make all the difference.

4. Close the Deal

When it comes time to close the deal, don’t be shy. Many donors or potential volunteers are interested in causes, but forget to follow through, or procrastinate until later (don’t we all?). Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Sending a friendly reminder such as, “Did you get the link I sent?” or “I’d love to have an offline conversation about our organization, if you’re interested!” will help to put pressure on them to respond, without pushing them to an uncomfortable point.

5. Follow Up

Didn’t get them the first time? Don’t be frustrated. Studies have shown that making a sale can take seven to eleven points of contact. By following up, you can help prospective donors to recognize their value to your organization. By asking for something specific, e.g. “Five minutes of your time?” or, “Think you can join us in volunteering on Saturday?”, you provide them with the opportunity to deliver. 

Beyond all else, be sure to continue using your social channels to engage with your prospects. Show them you care beyond their potential as a donor. It's all about building trust through authentic means of engagement. 

Have tips to add? Tell us in the comments below, or contact us via Facebook, Twitter or Email

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