Gone are the days of simply sending a postcard or making a phone call to acquire donations for your organization. In today’s increasingly tech-based economy, it is crucial to embrace online giving as a primary way of collecting donations. Not only is technology fueling the world we know today, but by accepting online donations, your fundraising is accessible. It can become a state-wide, national, and even global fundraiser. The best part about online giving is that it is extremely simple to implement with the right tools. So, let’s lay the foundation to increase your online donations with these five easy steps.
The best first step in online donor acquisition and online fundraising is getting to know your donors. And it all begins with a little research, well, a lot of research. Let’s face it. Your organization needs to understand your donors’ demographic details, financial signals, affinities, and interests. Then, you can garner great results from your fundraising efforts. The good news is that there are companies to do all this work for you by delivering donor details you never knew were possible.
You might be asking yourself, but why is all that information important? Surely I know everything there is to know about my donors, right? It’s true. You have a plethora of detailed information about your donors. But it’s impossible to know each one on a personal level. Knowing just what makes them tick will guide your outreach. It will land you amongst the donors who genuinely care about your cause. They say knowledge is power. In this case, it’s power that will help your organization reach new levels of donor retention and acquisition.
One of the million dollar questions, quite literally, is, “how do I know the appropriate ask amount for my donors?” Sure, you can base it on their past donations. But what if you could formulate a plan to ask for more, and they delivered? By knowing more about your donors, you could end up like one of our clients who received a $20,000 donation from a donor who had regularly made $100 donations. If they had remained under the assumption that this donor only wanted to give $100 per year, they would have missed out on a huge opportunity to make a difference for their cause. They partnered the power of AI with their donor data to determine that this donor had characteristics that matched those who had donated at much higher levels. Therefore, it allowed them to approach the individual with a higher ask amount and experience astounding results.
However, it’s not just about the “ask.” Yes, that is important. But how you approach your donors is just as important as the question you ask them. Knowing how to reach them, what messaging would appeal to them, and when is key to a successful campaign. One message and one mode of delivery will not fit each of your donors’ needs. Segmenting them into groups of individuals with similar qualities is key to ensuring successful delivery and receipt of your message for optimal engagement.
Ok, so now you know your donors, what is next? Well, why not try to find more people like them? You already know all the traits of what a great donor looks like based on the exercises you did in step one. Now it’s time to expand your reach using affinity-driven donor prospecting. This will enable you to focus solely on your target audience rather than spending time and effort casting a wide net and hoping that something resonates with someone. Not only does this give you confidence in your outreach when looking to engage new prospects, but in the end, this will save you time, money and reduce wasted effort for the long haul.
You can start by looking within your network or purchasing prospecting lists with individuals with similar qualities to those already committed to your cause. At first, this might seem like a daunting task. However, getting your feet wet will make you find your groove and become a powered-up prospect detector in no time. If you ever get overwhelmed, there are organizations that specialize in this work and can find your best donor lookalikes in no time.
Once you have your target audience, it’s time to decide how you want to reach them. Great tried and true ways such as direct mail, calling, or texting have become staples for nonprofit outreach. But with electronic devices becoming the focal point of every eyeball these days, fundraisers would greatly benefit from dedicating themselves to digital advertising.
There are various types of digital advertising available. Something tells me that the list will keep growing over the next several years. Top digital advertising methods are banner ads, video ads, social media ads, and over-the-top ads (or streaming ads). Each one will help get your message in front of your target audience easily and efficiently. When you use an omnichannel approach to marketing your organization, you are far more likely to garner greater support through your online donation page.
How would this omnichannel marketing strategy look exactly? Try delivering advertisements to your prospects and donors using multiple channels throughout their donation cycle. This will keep your organization in their mind for the giving season or a time when they are ready and able to give. It will also aid in meeting your audience where they are to improve their overall experience with your organization. Creating these more personalized touch points over time will attract more donations and enhance your donors’ lifetime value. Ultimately, it gives you a better return on your investment.
Your messaging and creative is one of the most critical parts of the equation. When beginning the process of producing these for each of your different ad placements, it is important to consider the following:
Your work in steps one and two is now ready to pay off. With the detailed interest, affinity, financial signals, and demographic details, you will be able to know who you are looking to reach with your messaging and creative. For example, if you are a nonprofit whose mission is to educate children in arts and sciences, you may find your supporters interested in museums. The audience’s average age is 45-60, and they have an average household income of $60,000. This would help you determine the type of imagery, the ask, and the message you put in front of them on the various channels you are using.
Regarding the creative you deliver, there are some overarching rules you should follow. One, make the graphic simple and clean. While simple, still ensures that the image is relevant and will pop in a sea of ads to attract your donors’ attention. Two, pay attention to the details. What do you want the outcome to be? Deliver a clear and concise story to your viewers that make them want to take the next step. Three, ensure there is a clear call to action. Whether that’s “Donate Now”, “Learn More”, or another relevant next step, make sure that it is prominent on the ad. Lastly, ensure that your ads are in the appropriate format, size, and length (for video) for the shared platform.
When you have all these parts set up, you are on track to increasing your online donations and awareness for your cause. To further prove the importance of knowing your donors, creating a multi-channel marketing strategy, and crafting a compelling advertisement, one of our clients has seen some amazing results using this method for elevated online giving. They raised $34,970 in donations from 55 new donors through a $2,750, three-week campaign. That’s a 12X return on their investment! These were terrific results, and their conversion rate was 88.7% on their digital ads – well above the industry average.
Your donation page is the face of your organization and has the final say before a completed donation. So, set up a strong donation portal. As you begin to lay out your giving page, consider the following advice:
As you go down this list of advice, remember always to keep your donors’ interests and needs in mind. For example, if your donors have an average giving capacity of $300, you should not suggest $10, $15, and $20 as your gift options. That would be selling yourself short and limiting the support you will ultimately receive. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, offering $500, $750, and $1,000 would turn them away from giving completely.
Always remember that your donors need to be able to quickly and easily donate with as little friction as possible. Grab their attention and hold on! Deliver a compelling story that makes people feel a need and desire to support your cause. Once you have their attention, ensure their eyes are where you want them to act – your donation form.
One way to increase your average online donation amount is to make a “middle of the road” ask amount stand out. This will encourage people to give just a little more before donating. I.e., They planned on giving $20 to your cause, but you had the next highest option of $40 highlighted as “most frequently given.” This would aid in persuading them to give just a little more. Therefore, you may double their intended initial gift. Before they leave your donation page, you should always ask if they would like to make their gift a recurring one. This will help increase the overall lifetime value of your donors by helping your organization retain them from the first donation. It will save you the time and effort of asking for another donation in the future.
Now, The Real Fun Begins
Once you have all these steps in place, you are ready to launch your campaign and reap the rewards of your labor. Watch those donations come rolling in! But remember, don’t get sidetracked by the shiny penny. Begin tracking your outcomes as your campaign runs. By the end of the campaign, you will have the data you need to refine your messaging, engage your new donors, and deliver an even better experience with each campaign going forward.
As you begin these steps, there are people who can help you increase your online donations with great ease. boodleAI’s giving pages put all of the above steps into one easy-to-use platform. It helps you set up the donation page you need to get the donors you want. It delivers the insights, prospects, and reporting you can use to create digital ads that will ramp up your online giving for good. So check it out by scheduling a demo to explore your organization’s needs and start on the right path to amplified online giving.
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