Online Fundraising: 6 Online Platform Tools for a Successful ‘People’ Fundraising Campaign
The role of a nonprofit fundraiser is constantly evolving. Just a few years ago, we relied on direct mail, phone calls, in-person campaigns—auctions and charity runs—and even email to raise funds and create relationships with our nonprofit’s stakeholders.
And it worked. We raised money and kept our organizations running. But times are changing. Today, due to emerging technologies (for example, social media), most nonprofit supporters are basically inundated with noise. So much noise, in fact, that all of us are becoming extremely selective in what we read and how we respond. (How can we not? We’re swimming in information day in and day out!)
Not only is all this noise not working like it once did, it’s also increasingly expensive for budget-strapped nonprofits to continue paying for high-cost marketing. As a result, nonprofits are beginning to rely on our natural interpersonal connections to power their fundraising campaigns, namely through online-fundraising methods like crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising. At CauseVox, we refer to this form of social fundraising as “people fundraising.”
Sit back for a moment and consider the last nonprofit or cause you donated to and what inspired you to give. There’s a good chance that a good friend, family member or even a co-worker recommended it. Interestingly, over one-third of all online donations made are a result of peer-to-peer fundraising—and this is a trend that isn’t going anywhere in the near future. Some call it the “sharing economy,” but all it really means is that both businesses and nonprofits are relying on the power of influence to help share/sell their product (whether it’s what to buy or what cause to give to).
Our ultra-connected world has required us all to rethink how we fundraise. And, as long as you use the right tools, you can navigate these new fundraising waters. Here are six essential components you need in your online-fundraising platform to run a successful people fundraising campaign.
A Campaign-Management Tool
Quality online-fundraising platforms should include an incorporated campaign-management tool to help keep your nonprofit organized and on track. This is because, as online donations come in, tracking them and monitoring the overall progress of the campaign is vital. Aside from tracking this data in real-time, you may also need the capability to add any donations acquired offline directly to your campaign totals, especially if you’re integrating your online campaign with another traditional fundraising technique.
Another thing to look for is a data-export feature. This feature is essential to help you organize campaign totals, sort through donor data and determine key figures, such as average gift and donor-acquisition costs.
A Personalized Fundraising Website
The first component you need to run an online social-fundraising campaign is a personalized-fundraising website. Why? Because this is the first place your supporters, their friends and their family members will visit to learn about your organization.
Effective online-fundraising websites feature your organization’s logo, specific colors/fonts and links to your official website and social media accounts.
You want your online audience to view your fundraising website as an arm of your overall campaign. Therefore, it’s important that it “matches” your other marketing materials.
The Option for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Out of all your online-fundraising options, peer-to-peer fundraising is the ideal way to reach an exponentially large audience. By recruiting your own supporters to fundraise for your nonprofit, you’re engaging them while also expanding your exposure to potential new donors and future loyal supporters.
To truly capitalize on the power of people-fundraising and social sharing, find an online-platform that contains peer-to-peer fundraising capabilities. Ideally, you need to manage your personal fundraisers (that’s what we call the people who fundraise for you) and have their individual fundraising results roll into your overall campaign total.
Ultimately, the success of your people fundraising campaign depends on the online-fundraising tools you use to promote, manage, track and wrap-up your campaign. As your own nonprofit begins to adapt to this new interconnected way of marketing and fundraising for your cause, remember to look for tools to help streamline the online-fundraising process for you AND your supporters.
A Customized Donation Form
People fundraising is as much about building and expanding on relationships as it is about raising money. After all, it’s much more important to consider a donor’s lifetime value than just their original gift amount. One of the first ways to begin learning about your donor (and thus, cater to their needs with customized content and personalized messaging) is right on your donation form!
Find an online-fundraising platform that allows you to collect the information you need, from a donor’s name and contact information to more detailed information, like how they learned about your nonprofit, their interests and their communication preferences.
A Place to Share Your Nonprofit Story
People fundraising in our connected world isn’t possible without storytelling. In fact, I see storytelling as the lifeblood behind any online-fundraising campaign. Since nonprofits must be able to tell their story to emotionally connect their audience to the cause and to convince them to give, the chosen online-fundraising platform must have an area for this.
Remember, your story can take many forms, including written word, images and even video. So, look for an online-fundraising platform that allows for multiple types of media.
Integrated Social Media and Email Sharing
Social and email sharing help you organically spread the word about your online-fundraising campaign. When your online-fundraising campaign contains built-in features designed to make social and email sharing easy, it encourages your supporters to go ahead and simply click that button to make an immediate impact.
Aside from these sharing features, it’s also nice for donors to share your campaign after they’ve made a donation. It’s a popular option that many donors use to help promote causes they care about.