Imagine your most perfectly-planned fundraiser. You’re all set with the most desirable auction items, 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 participants and donors to contribute to your efforts.
But how can you share your fundraiser with new audiences and invite existing supporters to contribute to your latest initiatives?
With a strong donation page and a multi-channel digital marketing strategy, you can amplify the reach of your virtual fundraiser and generate critical support for your mission.
At Snowball, we help nonprofits of all sizes to fundraise more effectively with our online giving tools and other software solutions. We’ve helped countless nonprofits reach their fundraising goals, so we’ve seen firsthand how a thoughtful marketing campaign can make all the difference.
Consider the following tips to promote your upcoming fundraiser:
- Start with an optimized website and donation page.
- Incorporate a multi-channel approach.
- Take advantage of available digital marketing tools.
- Simplify the donor conversion process.
A fundraiser is only effective if you can invite enough support. These tips will help you attract potential donors and secure their donations once they arrive. Let’s get started.
1. Start with an optimized website and donation page.
In order to successfully market your online fundraiser, you should first confirm that your foundation is in tip-top shape. 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 formatted, 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 to some audiences!
To avoid these challenges, make sure your donation page is:
- Easy to find. Your website should have intuitive and user-friendly navigation. Supporters need to have quick access to key details about your organization and mission. You’ll want to prominently link your donation page from the navigation menu and in calls to action throughout your website content.
- 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. Mobile devices make up more than 51% of global web traffic, so it’s likely that many potential supporters will be reaching your site from their smartphones. 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.
If you’re using a well-designed CMS or donation page provider, it’s probable that these considerations are already built into the system. Still, it’s wise to double-check that there aren’t any pain points for potential donors before moving forward with your marketing efforts.
2. Incorporate a multi-channel approach.
Multi-channel marketing refers to executing a single campaign across a variety of platforms. It allows you to reach a wider audience and create a comprehensive campaign with multiple touchpoints.
You’ll also increase the likelihood that supporters will see at least one of your messages. Due to strict spam filters and complex social media algorithms, it can be difficult to get your content in front of the right audience, even if they’ve expressed interest by following and subscribing.
Throughout each prong of your multi-channel campaign, you should rely on emotionally resonant imagery, storytelling, and calls to action. Distributing your appeal through different platforms will amplify its strength, but it won’t transform an ineffective message.
Once you have a strong foundation for your campaign, consider incorporating a few (or all!) of the following nonprofit marketing channels:
- Your nonprofit’s website. Your website is the hub of your digital marketing strategy. Like we discussed earlier in the article, make sure it’s well-designed and intuitive to navigate.
- Email. Implementing segmentation and personalization will help you to increase your open and click-through rates.
- Direct mail. Physical letters may feel outdated, but it’s 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 platform is most relevant to your audience.
- Call and text. These methods allow for a compelling one-on-one conversation.
- Online advertising. Consider promoting your social media posts or placing paid ads on search engines.
Throughout the various media you choose to incorporate, strike a balance between unifying a central message and tailoring your content to the context of 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, make sure each platform supports and drives traffic to the others. For instance, you might write compelling blog posts on your website then share this content with your Facebook followers.
3. Take advantage of available digital marketing tools.
Outside of the more common marketing options that we discussed in the previous section, consider branching out to new digital opportunities. Are there any up-and-coming trends to consider experimenting with?
The huge success of crowdfunding campaigns in recent years is a great indicator of how innovations in digital technology and social media can be leveraged for fundraising success. Generally speaking, crowdfunding campaigns rely entirely on the power of social sharing to raise needed funds.
As you explore the latest options, remember that many fundraising software providers have built-in marketing features that allow you to promote your campaign from within a unified system. Determine whether your online fundraising platform offers any of these features for an easy way to level-up your marketing strategy.
Additionally, look to marketing resources that are made available to nonprofits for free or a reduced cost. One of the best examples of this is the Google Ad Grant program. Through this grant, nonprofits can receive up to $10,000 a month in in-kind search advertising from Google.
This program can help your fundraising campaign receive much more search visibility than would otherwise be feasible, allowing you to get your mission in front of more potential supporters. For more information, this guide to Google Grant management walks through the basics of acquiring, launching, and maintaining the grant.
4. 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.
According to these nonprofit fundraising statistics from Double the Donation, this is especially important for mobile giving. Although conversion rates on mobile devices tend to be lower, more and more people are accessing donation pages through smartphones.
Take a close look at 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 a prospect must take between deciding to support your cause and actually making a donation. With fewer steps, it’s more likely that they’ll complete the transaction immediately, without abandoning the page or getting distracted.
This Snowball graphic explaining text-to-give highlights just how streamlined the process can be:
- Text the number. An individual sends a quick text message with a campaign keyword (for example, #FundFosterCare2020) 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 donation process will pay dividends in your conversion rate.
After all, at this point you’ve dedicated ample time and energy into marketing your campaign well enough for supporters to find it. You don’t want to lose them once they’ve gotten this far!
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.
As you execute your campaign, be sure to track relevant engagement metrics so you can see which tactics were the most effective. Then, when you launch your next fundraiser, you can focus your attention on the platforms that will make the biggest impact.
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.