Successful Online Fundraising

We have worked with a range of nonprofits to develop and implement online fundraising, integrating email efforts and microsites as well as events and offline promotion. Our clients include The Wharton School, Outward Bound, Harlem Educations Activities Fund, The MacDowell Colony, and the University of the Witwatersrand. In every case, our online fundraising efforts were able to increase the number of online donations dramatically. The keys to more successful online fundraising span strategy, technology and execution.

Highlight the Touchpoints

Fundraising may be one of the most competitive arenas. You are asking potential donors to pay attention, believe and then open their wallets. A big ask. We help clients develop online communications that set them apart. Is there a particular accomplishment, some reason the recipient should be especially cognizant of your organization. Be more specific, be unusual.

Get Organization-Wide Buy-In

It’s vital that the entire organization mobilize around fundraising and other core communications efforts. This increases the touchpoints for potential donors and serves to expand and amplify the message.

Upgrade Design and Copy

We build nonprofit and fundraising websites that are elegant and efficient, with the goal of communicatingand directing users to donation forms. Emails should be relatively short, well written and beautifully designed.

Segment Your List

Segmentation is key to any successful outreach. The bigger your database the more people you can reach. The more you segment the more people you can engage. We recommend most of our nonprofit clients segment their fundraising lists dramatically and plan content, frequency and delivery according to user segments.

Track Donors and Conversions

Tracking is vital, and nonprofit fundraising is no exception. Track donations, so that you don’t send a reminder email to someone who has already given, and you can send thank you emails to your donors. Tracking will also allow you to measure success and establish targets for your next year or next fundraising campaign.

Say Thank You, Not Just Please

Most fundraisers send out campaign emails, often multiple emails, but forget to send out thank you emails, even after a successful campaign. For some of our clients, like the MacDowell Colony and the University of the Witwatersrand, we send post-event emails that highlight the success of the event, link to event photos, and, of course, say thanks. Similarly, a recent matching campaign for the Wharton School, saw a post-campaign thank you that went to all donors, thanking them for their support and summarizing the success of the campaign.

Think Outside the Box

Try something different, look somewhere new. For some nonprofits, that means tapping into corporate funding. For others, linking emails to a video or sponsoring an event will engage your audience. Others find that games or sweepstakes or discount cards valid at participating merchants work to get the undecided potential donors off the fence. Send a snail mail letter or plain text email to re-engage users who do notrespond. And if it works, do it again next year.