Online fundraising can be an important part of a successful fundraising plan and bring in a big chunk of your charity’s income. But if you’re not doing it right, your online fundraising page can stay stuck on zero.
So, how does one get online donations? What do successful charities know that you don’t? Here are four crucial things to remember when raising funds online for your non-profit. Master them and your online fundraising campaigns willwork.
1. Know your donors
The people most likely to donate to your charity are not the general public.
Talking to the general public and asking them for support will force you to be too general and reach no-one. Instead, find your best supporters and write down how they are similar to each other. Maybe (or maybe not) you’ll have something like: female, mid-thirties, suburban, mother, mid-level job, spends time at school, church and sports clubs. Now, use this information to create fundraising campaigns that speak to this type of supporter. Then figure out where they spend time online or where you can meet with them in person to share your campaign.
It might seem strange to focus on a smaller group of people, but it will mean spending the time you have to better effect. To learn more about ‘segmenting’ your fundraising audience, read this post.
2. Say what problem you’re solving
Explain how you will spend the money, how it’s going to help, and how much you need. Take time to figure this out beforeyou launch an online campaign.
Decide where the money will be spent by asking your finance team where they see the greatest need. Then get your project team to turn this into specific campaigns. Be specific about what you’re planning – for example, “building a library at the local school” or “feeding 50 dogs a day for 3 months”. If the reason for giving is not clear enough, people won’t give.
Now explain what this will achieve. For example, “A library will give 135 children the opportunity to read and the skills to unlock opportunities beyond their reach”. Make sure you are told when the money is spent as planned.
Finally, set a fundraising goal and say why it’s important. Yes, it’s scary to put a number out there – what if you don’t reach it? But people will understand and support you if you explain how you got to the goal amount and what will happen if you don’t reach it.
3. Get personal
People give because something pushes them to solve a problem. But donors can quickly feel overwhelmed by so much need and think someone else will step in.
The secret is to help donors feel like they can make a difference. Often this can be done by sharing a simple, relatable story with someone living or working in that area. If none of your donors live near the place of need, share a story that highlights the things that make them similar to those in need, such as caring for their children’s health. If your beneficiaries aren’t people, work out another connection – for example, people’s love for animals or nature.
4. Online fundraising doesn’t end with the donation
The best thing you can do with online fundraising is to get your donors to donate regularly. The only way to do this is to keep talking to them after they donated. Send a thank-you note, e-mail an update when their donation is used to solve a problem, send news of your work and always ask them to donate again (or fundraise).
The point is to take online fundraising seriously as a source of income over a long period. Online fundraising won’t bring you fast cash, and it requires work. You can’t just put a campaign online and share it on social media – you first have to spend some time thinking and planning, and you have to keep building relationships to get your donors to believe in your work and trust you.
If you’ve got a cause you care about, I’m here to help you grow and fund it. My name is Wendy van Eyck and I am obsessed with teaching non-profit fundraisers and marketers with few resources, little time and high targets how to generate the funding they need to bring change to a community they care about. Find free resources and ideas at http://www.solofundraiser.com/.
Wendy van Eyck
Non-Profit Communications Expert