As more and more non-profits have dipped their toes into e-fundraising, whether through e-mail, social media, or on their websites, many are wondering how to maximize the revenue they receive from these efforts.
E-fundraising isn’t the same as direct mail fundraising, though there are some similarities: you have to make it emotional; you have to make it attractive; you have to avoid cluttering your page. That being said, there are some unique strategies your non-profit can use to supercharge your next e-fundraising appeal:
#1: Be Transparent
Many people are still wary about giving online. This includes new prospects as well as your current donor pool. To many donors, there’s something comforting about writing out a check and handing it (or mailing it) to the development director at an organization. If you want people to give to your online fundraising efforts, you need to make them feel comfortable doing so.
In addition to things like using secure credit card processing, the best way to make someone feel good about giving online or through e-mail is by being completely transparent, and helping them understand where their money will go. What will this donation be used for? How will you report back to the donor on the effectiveness of their gift? Why do you need all the information about the donor that you are collecting on the credit card form? Be as transparent as possible!
#2: Make Your Ask Bite-Sized and Action-Oriented
I’ve found that the most compelling asks online, on e-mail, and on social networking sites are small “bite sized” asks: $5, $10, $25, $100. I’ve also found that the best online asks are “action oriented,” where the donor is being asked to make a donation to fund one specific action or thing. For example: “Give $10 to feed a family for a month,” or “Give $25 to fund free museum admission for a class of 40 eighth graders.”
#3: Use All Channels to Generate Buzz
Many non-profits have tried using e-fundraising to focus on one specific “online channel” or community. They may have a presence on their website, Twitter, Facebook, and have a 1,000 person e-mail list. Yet they only post their online fundraising effort on their website, or send it out to their e-mail list.
The truth is that people have fleeting attention spans online. There’s always something else to look at, another link to click. You have to make sure you get your message in front of your donors and prospects as often as possible if you want them to get involved. Treat your e-fundraising like a campaign – give each effort a name, a specific ask for a specific ask, and a deadline. Set up a page for it on your website. Then use e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media sites you are on to push people to that page.
#4: Make a Direct Ask
Finally, like all fundraising efforts, your e-fundraising appeals will not be successful unless you make a direct ask. Don’t just tell people why you need money and how much you need, and hope that they will give. Ask them to give. Say, “Will you make a donation today?” or “Will you give $50 today to save a life? Click here!” Make your case, then make an ask.
Joe Garecht is the creator of The Fundraising Authority, a free source of fundraising advice and tutorials for non-profits of all sizes.