Friday, July 6, 2012

7 Secrets To Boosting Your Online Fundraising

There is no question that online fundraising has become a very popular method for nonprofits that are trying to increase their revenue and donors. Even though it's still not as dominant as traditional means, it has seen steady growth over the years -- the most recent Blackbaud Index of Charitable giving saw it increase for the 12th month in a row.

If your nonprofit is not seeing as much success from online giving, Frank Barry -- Internet strategy  manager for Blackbaud in Charleston, S.C. -- has some tips for you. He recommended seven ideas that will improve your organization's online fundraising efforts:

  • Look at Web Traffic: Start by scrutinizing your web traffic. Find out how many people and how often they are visiting your organization’s website each month and if they are visiting your key online fundraising pages. Once you learn more about your web traffic you can make intelligent decisions about how to optimize your website to achieve the best online fundraising results.
  • Pay Attention to Referrals: Learn where your visitors are coming from. Are they being driven to your page by social media, search engines, or partner websites? Some 40 percent of your online traffic should be from search engines, so enter your organization’s name into a search engine and observe where your site falls on the list of results. If it is not first, improve your website promotion and educate yourself about making the site easier for potential donors to find.
  • Make the Ask: Make sure you have incorporated a specific online ask. The ask should be accompanied by a precise message tailored to the demographic you are targeting.
  • Make the RIGHT Ask: Analyze what you request of your donors. Is your ask always the average of your total online fundraising revenue or does it vary with each donor adjusting based on the donor’s giving history? Being smarter about your ask, if executed properly, can help you receive more.
  • Know Your Audience: Audience analysis should be a key part of your online strategy, and it should be your goal to put the needs of potential donors first. While you might think your website is easy to navigate, others who do not know a lot about your organization might not find it as easy. Have friends or peers who are not familiar with your site look at it and use their feedback to improve.
  • Keep Messaging and Branding Unified: Images or messages should complement each other and organizations should personalize any literature to display ownership and stay on message. It is important to make all your online communication uniform, which will streamline the donor’s experience and will make a return or referral more likely.
  • Follow Up Relentlessly: After receiving a donation, make sure to follow up with the donor by updating them with your organization’s progress and show them how their gift has made a difference.

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