4 min

Leveraging eCards for a More Personal and Unique Donation Experience

The holidays are a time to get in touch with friends and family. Greeting cards, family newsletters, and presents are abound, but that’s not the only reason the winter holiday is called “the season of giving.” The end-of-year holidays are also a time for charity, when nonprofits are fundraising at full throttle.

With dedicated gifts and eCards, greetings and giving can come together harmoniously. Classy recently added an eCards feature to our fundraising software’s Pro Plan, so let’s see how nonprofit organizations can use them as part of their upcoming holiday fundraising campaigns.

To start with, we will explain what eCards are and how nonprofits can use them. Then we will offer some tips for designing eCards for your campaign. We’ll finish up with a short tour of our eCards tool.

Why eCards and Not Email?

As the name suggests, eCards are a digital alternative to greeting cards and postcards. You may be wondering how allowing donors to send an eCard differs from a dedication email. eCards allow your donors to personalize your cause in a highly stylized and branding way.

Think of it as the difference between getting flowers with a typed note from 1-800-Flowers versus delivered with a handwritten greeting card. Using eCards can deepen the meaningfulness of a donation to both the donor and dedicatee, a huge plus for a supporter’s personal experience with your organization.

Like greeting cards, utilizing eCards isn’t limited to the holiday season. You can update your design offering to match different season, or keep more permanent options that reflect occasions that happen year-round, such as birthdays, weddings and engagements.

Here are a few ways your nonprofit organization can incorporate eCards in fun, creative ways!

• To serve as a holiday or birthday present for the honoree. The recipient of the eCard can then find out more about the nonprofit and even donate.

• To tell someone you made a gift in their honor. You can use an eCard to let someone know their association with the cause inspired you to give.

• To challenge the recipient to pass it on. Now that the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge has exploded in popularity, it highlights the method of challenging or personally asking someone to donate. Donors can send an eCard asking the recipient to give to the cause. If repeated this could help one gift become many.

However you choose to use eCards in your fundraising efforts, you are making your cause and campaign more social, shareable and, most importantly, personalized.

Designing Your eCard

But before you or your donors can send eCards, you’ll need to make some. If you don’t have Photoshop or Illustrator skills, or a design at hand, don’t worry! There are plenty of services that allow you to create beautiful visual content quite easily and cheaply. (Check out Canva, for example).

You can think of your eCard as having three parts:

The Image

This is the picture or background of the card. You can make it holiday-themed or choose a photo showing your organization’s work. Consider showing the progress your mission supports or the people you have helped. If you want to emphasize that this is a holiday campaign, consider your audience and whether they would prefer a secular or religious theme.

The Branding

Make sure your eCard features your organization’s logo. You want the recipient to know where the gift is going. This doesn’t just promote your brand, it also makes the eCard look more professional. Make sure to consider the colors, font, and voice of your brand when designing eCards. (For a detailed technical guide to crafting great nonprofit branding, read this guide by Brandisty.)

The Message

Because the text should be short and simple, be thoughtful and deliberate with the copy. You can add a standard “Season’s Greetings, ”a simple phrase the represents your cause’s ethos, or demonstrate the impact any donation makes on your organization’s programs.

Regardless of how you design your eCard, make sure that at least some piece of the design demonstrates your cause and the impact donations have on it. Your imagery and messaging should match the how, what and why of your organization. I love this example from GirlStart, an organization that empowers girls through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)!

Our eCards Tool

Let’s take a quick look at our eCard tool. (For a deep dive and how-to, check out our thorough support article). Starting from the “Fundraising” tab on your dashboard, click on the “Manage” button next to the campaign on which you want to use the tool. Go to the “Edit” tab and click on the “Donation Page” option. Scroll down until you see the “Dedications Settings.” Expand this section and click to allow dedications and offer eCards to donors.

Now all you have to do is upload your eCard images! Just click on the plus sign (+) in the image box. Donors will be able to add a personalized message to appear with the eCard.

eCards are a great way to supplement all of the other holiday fundraising efforts you no doubt have going on this year. Remember that delighting donors and providing a personalized experience can go a long way in making a lasting impression with supporters (and those they send dedications to!) While we’ve mainly focused on the holiday season here, get creative and use eCards for other campaigns all year!


Image Credit: Josh Hinds


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