How to Effectively Market Your Upcoming Fundraiser: 4 Tips
Imagine your most perfectly-planned fundraiser. You’re all set with the most desirable auction items, the most engaging entertainment, or the catchiest campaign slogan. With all the details squared away, you can just sit back, relax, and watch the funding come flowing in, right?
Not so fast. In order to rake in the donations and meet your fundraising goal, you need to work to find participants and donors. But how can you strategically share your fundraiser with new audiences and invite existing supporters to contribute to your latest initiative?
With a strong donation page and a multi-channel digital marketing strategy, you can amplify the reach of your fundraiser and generate critical support for your mission.
We’ve helped countless nonprofits reach their fundraising goals, so we’ve seen firsthand how a thoughtful marketing campaign can make all the difference. To make the most of your promotion efforts for your next fundraiser, use the following tips:
- Start with an optimized website and donation page.
- Incorporate a multi-channel approach.
- Simplify the donor conversion process.
- Collect and analyze your metrics.
A fundraiser is only effective if you can invite enough support. Let’s go through these tips to help you attract potential donors and secure their donations once they arrive.
1. Start with an optimized website and donation page.
In order to successfully market your fundraiser, you should first confirm that you have a strong foundation to build on. This means optimizing the user experience of your nonprofit’s website—particularly your donation page.
If your donation page is confusing, hard to find, or poorly designed, you run the risk of losing potential supporters. Plus, problems with general web accessibility or mobile-friendliness may mean your donation form is completely unusable for some audiences!
Avoid these challenges by making sure your donation page is:
- Easy to find. Your website should have intuitive and user-friendly navigation. Supporters shouldn’t have to struggle to locate any of your organization’s information, but especially your donation page. Prominently link your donation page from the navigation menu and in calls to action across your website.
- Simple. Pare down your donation form to include only the essential elements. While it can be tempting to gather as much information as possible, stick to only necessary fields like contact details and payment information. We’ll dive deeper into why this is important later in this article, but for now, keep in mind that a streamlined form is convenient and easy for donors.
- Mobile responsive. Linking your donation page in social media posts and emails means that a large portion of potential supporters will be reaching your site from their phones. It is critical that you provide a positive experience for these users by implementing a mobile-responsive layout and ensuring images and text appear at an appropriate size.
- Accessible. Your website should be in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations in order to ensure access for all supporters. While the full list of requirements is extensive, adding accessibility elements like alt text to images is a great start.
Your CMS or donation software will determine a lot of these factors, so make sure you’re using a well-designed option that fits your organization’s needs. Take advantage of customization features, but ensure that they make your website easier to navigate and not more confusing.
2. Incorporate a multi-channel approach.
Due to strict spam filters and complex social media algorithms, it can be difficult to get your content in front of the right audience. But with a multi-channel approach to marketing, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience and increase the likelihood that supporters will see at least one of your messages.
To create a comprehensive campaign, feature content with emotionally resonant imagery, storytelling, and calls to action that you can spread across a variety of platforms. Once you have a strong foundation for your messaging, consider incorporating a few (or all!) of the following nonprofit marketing channels:
- Your nonprofit’s website. Your website is the core of your digital marketing strategy, so it needs to be well-designed and intuitive to navigate.
- Email. Launch specific email campaigns for your fundraiser, and incorporate fundraising appeals and updates into your regular email newsletters.
- Direct mail. Physical letters may feel outdated, but they’re still an effective way to connect with potential donors.
- Social media. Meet your supporters where they’re already spending their time. Share content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whichever platforms are most relevant to your audience.
- Call and text. These methods allow for compelling one-on-one conversations. Use these personal appeals to cultivate relationships, especially with longtime supporters and major donors.
- Online advertising. Nonprofits can receive up to $10,000 a month in in-kind search advertising through Google ad grants. This program can help your campaign receive more search visibility than from organic traffic alone, allowing you to get your mission in front of more potential supporters.
Throughout all of the marketing channels you choose to incorporate, strike a balance between unifying a central message and tailoring your content to each platform. It should be clear that everything is part of the same fundraising campaign, but you won’t want to replicate the exact text of an email appeal on Twitter.
Additionally, many fundraising software providers have built-in marketing features that allow you to promote your campaign from within a unified system. Determine whether your fundraising platform offers any of these features for an easy way to level-up your marketing strategy.
3. Simplify the donor conversion process.
You want to make it as easy and convenient as possible for donors to give. By streamlining your donation process, you’ll increase your donation page conversion rate and ultimately raise more for your mission.
Simplifying your donation page is especially important for mobile giving. According to Double the Donation’s fundraising statistics, transactions on mobile devices increased by 50% over the past year. Although conversion rates on mobile devices tend to be lower, more and more people are accessing donation pages on their phones.
Take a close look at both the desktop and mobile versions of your donation page to find opportunities to streamline the process. As you evaluate the form, consider the following questions:
- How many fields do supporters need to fill in? Can any of these be eliminated?
- On average, how long does it take to submit a donation?
- Is the form a single page or multiple pages?
- How many clicks are required to submit a donation?
One useful strategy for simplifying the donation process is incorporating text-to-give. Text-to-give reduces the number of steps between deciding to support your cause and actually making a donation. With fewer steps, it’s more likely that supporters will complete the transaction immediately, without abandoning the page or getting distracted.
Snowball’s text-to-give guide highlights just how streamlined the process can be. For text donations, there are only three simple steps:
- Text the number. A donor sends a quick text message with a campaign keyword (for example, #FundFosterCare2023) to a designated phone number.
- Follow the link. The individual gets an automatic response with a link to a donation page, then chooses how much to donate.
- Submit the donation. The donor fills out a short online donation form and provides their payment and contact information (that can be saved for next time). Once the individual hits “send,” the donation is complete.
Whether you choose to implement a new text-to-give system or improve your existing donation page, making the effort to streamline the process will improve your conversion rate. At this point, you’ve dedicated ample time and energy into marketing your campaign for supporters to find it. You don’t want to lose them once they’ve gotten this far!
4. Collect and analyze your metrics.
Collecting data is vital for improving your marketing efforts and for creating lasting relationships with supporters. Gather data from social media platforms, your website, and your donors, then store it in your organization’s CRM. Throughout the course of your marketing campaign, pay special attention to these metrics:
- Donor demographics
- Giving amounts and frequencies
- Website traffic
- Email open and click-through rates
- Social media engagement metrics
After collecting the data, analyze each metric to gain important insight into your donor base and how they respond to different types of marketing.
Analysis of demographic data, for example, will allow you to segment your donors and better target marketing for each group. Implementing segmentation and personalization will then help you to increase your email open and click-through rates. From social media data, you can learn which platforms and types of content your supporters prefer to engage with. Then, redirect your social media efforts to prioritize the content your donors most respond to.
The information you get from these metrics isn’t just valuable for your current campaign, it’ll also be useful for future fundraisers and your organization’s overall marketing strategy. From this data, you can see which tactics were the most effective for different donor segments and focus your attention on the methods that will make the biggest impact in the future.
Your fundraiser needs to reach supporters in order to be successful. By creating a compelling multi-channel campaign that drives prospects back to a streamlined donation page, you’ll be well-positioned to increase the number of site visitors and completed donations.
Once you’ve implemented these strategies, all that’s left to do is thank your donors! Show your appreciation for each and every person who donated, and work on creating relationships that will keep them involved with your nonprofit for years to come.
Guest Author: John Killoran, Clover Leaf Solutions
John Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Snowball Fundraising, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations.
Snowball was one of John’s first public innovations; it’s a fundraising platform that offers text-to-give, online giving, events, and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofits. By making giving simple, Snowball increases the donations that these organizations can raise online. The Snowball effect is real! John founded Snowball in 2011. Now, it serves over 7,000 nonprofits and is the #1 nonprofit fundraising platform.