A Guide to Digital Fundraising for Nonprofits, Optimizing Your Marketing Budget
Jun 21 2022
With 1.54 million nonprofit organizations registered with the IRS, there is a lot of competition for donors. Relying solely on traditional tactics won’t be enough to help your nonprofit stand out and fundraise to its full potential. Learn how to build on current marketing efforts, optimizing your marketing budget with digital strategies to boost donations for your organization.
Key Strategies for Your Digital Fundraising Foundation
Nonprofits are successfully fundraising through a combination of digital marketing and traditional fundraising tactics (direct mailings, phone calls, and in-person events, for example). Some of the most important digital elements nonprofits rely on include:
- A mobile-, SEO-, and user-friendly website (designed with accessibility in mind) that clearly states the organization’s mission, goals, and initiatives while providing an online space for donations.
- Social media accounts to connect with the community, provide important updates, and carry out the nonprofit’s message through a different medium.
- Online giving software for gathering and analyzing donor data; analyzing fundraising metrics; managing events; supplementing text messaging and email marketing efforts with relevant audience data.
Digital Fundraising Methods: What’s New and Next
Online communication continues to evolve and organizations need to keep pace. The following methods can help nonprofits connect with donors for engaged and efficient fundraising.
Online donation pages
A donation page allows people to easily give to your organization, even without visiting your website. This page provides visitors with a brief description of the organization, its mission and goals, and reasons for giving. Organizations can collect pertinent first-party data from these pages, including email addresses (to send thank-yous, receipts, updates, and volunteer opportunities) and phone numbers for text messaging.
Donation pages can also include custom questions to learn more about your donors. Learning how they discovered your organization, their interest in volunteering, and their openness to scheduling recurring donations provides valuable information for planning future campaigns.
Peer-to-peer fundraising helps nonprofits capitalize on a donor’s passion for the organization by inviting them to fundraise on behalf of the nonprofit. Using the campaign’s event page as a template, individuals are given a personal fundraising page to share with family, friends, and followers leading up to the event. This strategy has several benefits:
- Creates ambassadors for your organization while highlighting their efforts
- Provides social proof that generates interest and additional donations for the nonprofit
- Extends nonprofit’s reach without overextending campaign budgets
- Welcomes wider participation by inviting both in-person and virtual support
Mobile fundraising is any fundraising occurring on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. This strategy goes beyond text-to-give campaigns. Mobile fundraising encompasses social media, email, mobile-optimized websites, apps, and text-to-donate. The steady growth of mobile website traffic combined with an expanding selection of options indicates that mobile fundraising will also increase steadily.
How to Maximize Fundraising Efforts in 2022
Before taking on new tactics, review your current digital channel performance. Analyze your nonprofit’s best- and worst-performing campaigns for what worked and what needs improvement, then consider how this will affect fundraising goals. This analysis will help to determine which trending tactics can really move the needle.
Here’s a list of questions for getting started:
1. Do we have an engaged community on social media, but no strategy for efficient fundraising? Organizations with an active social media presence are primed for mobile fundraising. Link to your donation page in social media posts and consider converting the most popular posts into social display ads to reach an audience outside of brand channels. Instagram offers multiple ways for verified nonprofits to fundraise and to get enthusiastic followers to join in.
2. What types of messages do we send to previous donors through email and text? Email marketing is an excellent way to reach a wide spectrum of people. Using data sourced from online giving or donor management software, nonprofits can create custom audiences and send appropriate messaging.
Contact in-person or offline donors with links to your donation page as well as instructions on how to set up recurring donations. (Research shows that the average recurring donor gives 42% more annually than one-time donors.) Invite recent donors and volunteers to participate in peer-to-peer fundraising. Reach out to donation abandoners to learn why they’re hesitant to donate and ask what information they need to make a final decision.
3. Are we using text-to-give and when text-to-donate makes more sense? Text-to-donate links directly to your nonprofit’s donation page and allows people to customize the size of their donation, making it more popular than text-to-give now. Make sure the donation page is mobile-optimized and offer multiple secure payment options, including Apple Wallet and PayPal in addition to credit card. Feature your organization’s TTD codes prominently in digital ads and virtual events: in 2020, the average TTD donation was $97.
Nonprofit organizations pursuing multichannel communications have a better chance of generating more frequent donations. Build on your current strategies with innovative tactics for more consistent fundraising success, making the most of your marketing spend.