A successful online fundraising strategy is the result of a balanced effort. From
optimized email marketing to an active social media presence, social impact
organizations need to juggle multiple moving parts to attract and retain online
supporters. When you overlook one piece of the pie, you miss an opportunity to engage
donors and increase gifts.
But it’s easy to miss a couple pieces of said pie. Many social impact organizations spend tons of time optimizing certain elements of their online fundraising, while other components start collecting dust. When you identify which areas need more attention, you can take the necessary action to elevate your entire online fundraising strategy.
That’s why we’ve created the Online Fundraising Assessment. This free guide includes a self-assessment test that can help you see where you’re spending your time and resources, and identify which parts of your online fundraising strategy could use more attention. The rest of the guide dives into best practices for each element, so you can start tightening up your strategy right away.
The 7 Elements of Online Fundraising
With this tool, you can rate yourself on—and learn more about—the following elements of online fundraising:
1. Donor Acquisition
The key to acquiring new online donors is understanding who they are and talking to them in a meaningful way. Traditional acquisition tactics, like buying mailing lists, fail to generate a high return because you don’t know who these prospects are, or how to communicate with them personably.
You have a better chance of drawing in new supporters when you deliver tailored content that appeals to their specific goals, interests, and concerns. This means that you have to a) learn who your donors are, and b) create a multi-channel plan to attract people to your website and build relationships.
To score high in this area, you might:
- Create donor personas
- Send a newsletter
- Update your blog regularly
- Leverage peer-to-peer fundraising
2. Donation Volume
In order to boost your overall revenue year over year, you need to build a strategy to strengthen existing relationships and nurture supporters toward deeper levels of involvement. Oftentimes, organizations simply fail to give their supporters the option of extending their support. With strategic communications, you can guide supporters to increase their gifts.
High-performing organizations tend to:
- Send personalized emails to supporters
- Brand their donation pages
- Use custom donation pages
- Add a permanent fundraising option to their website
3. Donor Retention
It’s one thing to get supporters to give, and it’s another to get them to stay. Only 23 percent of first-time donors give again. From intentional follow-up strategies to playful touches in your messages, you should infuse your online fundraising strategy with tactics designed to strengthen donor loyalty.
To score high in this area, you would:
- Craft a specific follow-up strategy for donors
- Build a custom welcome email series
- Segment communications
- Infuse donor delight into your messages
4. Recurring Giving Program
Take your online fundraising strategy to the next level by launching and refining your recurring giving program. With a healthy slew of monthly donations, you can boost donors’ total annual contributions, increase retention rates, improve your cash flow, and plan and budget for the long-term. Your monthly donors are a special segment of your donor base, so your program branding and communications should be thoughtfully crafted.
High scorers might:
- Brand their monthly giving program
- Promote perks for monthly givers on their website
- Craft a specific communication strategy for monthly donors
A critical piece of your online fundraising strategy, your website needs to be in excellent shape if you want to attract potential supporters. It is a prospective donor’s first touch with your organization, so you want to make the right impression. Make sure you’ve designed it so people can easily understand your mission, impact, and ways to get involved.
High-scoring organizations will:
- Prioritize overall web design
- Have easy-to-use navigation
- Present clear calls to action
- Acquire emails
6. Social Media
Fifty-five percent of people who interact with causes on social media end up taking further action. Engage your audience through storytelling, public shout-outs, and high-quality visuals, and you can leave you supporters feeling more inspired and connected to your brand.
To score high in this area, you might:
- Excel at storytelling
- Engage regularly with supporters (comment, like, retweet)
- Call out supporters
7. Email Marketing Strategy
Your emails are a key ingredient of your overall online fundraising strategy. From your list segmentation to email design, each element of your email marketing needs to be in tip-top shape to maximize your chances of getting opened, read, and clicked-through. Your attention and efforts can turn readers into donors, fundraisers, and more involved members of your fundraising community.
High-performing organizations will:
- Deliver mobile-responsive emails
- Build out donor segments
- Design beautiful, easy to read messages
- Test strategies
Take the Online Fundraising Assessment
Find out how you stack up against these elements. Identify which areas of your online fundraising strategy can use some improvement, and then flip over to the specific guide chapters to learn how you can ramp them up.