Christina Relacion has more than 10 years of experience in digital marketing, website editing, video production, and social media. Before joining Cathexis Partners, she served as Communications Manager at the Scleroderma Foundation’s national office.
We’re barely into fall, but I already have 2019 fundraising on my mind and so should you! It’s never too early to start thinking about the future and how you can position your nonprofit for success.
Countdown…3, 2, 1!
Here are six online fundraising best practices you can employ to make 2019 your best fundraising year yet:
1. Map out your entire year of communications
I know that sounds daunting, but you can simplify by mapping out just a quarter at a time to get an idea of all the messages you want to send. These can include emails, social media posts, and snail mail (postcards, letters, invites). This approach will help you and your staff members visualize a timeline and deliverables. It also provides a big picture view that will help you avoid sending mixed messages and overlapping with other campaigns. Be sure to work closely with your marketing department to ensure your messaging is clear and strong.
2. Make it about them, not about you
Once you have an idea of what you want to communicate, begin to craft messages that resonate with your audience. Be sure to put the focus on your supporters (sponsors, fundraisers, major donors, and advocates). Personalize your emails and other communications as much as you can; many email systems allow you to auto-populate name and other information. You also can post stories or testimonials from your key supporters during campaigns. Use these stories on your website, in emails, and even in brochures or magazines.
3. Build resources for your biggest advocates
Make it easy for your supporters to get behind your organization. Empower them with the tools they need to spread the word about the good things you’re doing in your community. Team up with your marketing folks to give supporters sample social media posts and emails to share with their personal networks about how your organization has touched their lives. Provide them with photos/logo, talking points, and other resources so they can hit the ground running and contribute to your success.
4. Keep your donation form simple
In today’s rapid “do-it-now” culture, make it easy for donors to make a gift. Avoid multi-page donation forms with every giving option under the sun. Consider using a landing page that feature specific donation forms for honor/memorial gifts, matching gifts, recurring gifts, etc. At the same time, provide your donors with the convenience of as many different payment options as you can, including credit card, PayPal, or ApplePay. As for design, keep it clean using your organization’s brand palette. Be sure to make the “process donation” button easy-to-spot, too. Consider calling it out with orange or red to attract the eye.
5. Make this one simple change for all of your donation forms
Payment processors charge a transaction fee (somewhere around 3 percent), which reduces the amount of each donation that goes to your organization. Change your donation forms to ask the donor to cover the transaction fee, and you can significantly boost your overall funds raised. Using this approach, one Cathexis Partners client received $2,000 in three months that otherwise would’ve been lost to fees. Now, that’s a significant payoff!
6. Set goals — and track them
Think about setting goals as your organization’s New Year fundraising resolution. When you track fundraising statistics, it helps you write more effective messages and create an improved online experience for your supporters. It also allows you to target them more specifically (and personally…see #2 above). You can set goals for just about everything — your website, your donation forms, your emails. These goals can include: number of visits, click-through rates, personal demographics, first-time vs. returning donors, lapsed donors, links clicked, and more.
With just a little advanced planning, you can ring in 2019 like a fundraising superstar. If you need help, our team at Cathexis Partners would love to speak with you to discuss your plans. Just contact us!