Blog by: Katie MacKenzie, Project Coordinator
I admit, I am little skeptical of certain types of online fundraising. I’m not a big fan of GoFundMe or any of those types of fundraising sites, as I never feel that they have the appropriate accountability checks in place – although I do admit I have given to one or two causes. And, I am a firm believer that, as time has proven again and again, the best fundraising is done face-to-face through personal relationships.
However, with ever changing and rapidly evolving technology, we also know that mobile and online fundraising is most definitely an area that is growing, and one of which we need to be cognizant as non-profits. It can no longer be ignored and honestly, while I am not a fan of crowdfunding sites, there is a lot that we in the non-profit sector can learn from them. The active use of technology not only can make it easier for certain groups of people to give, but also can capture a demographic that possibly would not be captured otherwise.
I recently came across an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy entitled, “Follow the Leaders: Learn From Charities Making the Most of Digital Giving”. Essentially, the article discussed several organizations that have made the best use of the internet and online tools to both gain support and to sell their particular cause to donors with great success.
I encourage you to read the full article here: https://philanthropy.com/article/Best-of-Online-Fundraising-/236317, but I thought the authors summed up nicely 3 tips for moving towards online giving if you do not yet have these types of giving vehicles in place.
- Keep it Simple: The article touches on the fact that if you make things too complicated, donors will not be interested in giving digitally as it gets too difficult, or users may become frustrated with a tool that is meant to be easy to use. As the article states: “Focus on what the user wants.” An easy way to give!
- Make it Easy to Give: The article discussed one particular organization, the American Cancer Society which, rather than making things overly complicated by filling out donation details, only offers a small handful of four suggest donation amounts, ranging from $50 – $250 so that donors only have to essentially “tap to give” rather than get bogged down with filling out multiple pages or boxes full of information. While this may not work for everyone, for them it has been a very effective means of digital fundraising.
- Don’t be Intimidated: For some of our smaller non-profits (and some larger ones too!), I think that it is easy to be overwhelmed with all of the technological tools at our disposal. But, as the article states, don’t be intimidated!! Start small and work your way up from there, determining what tactics for online and mobile giving work best for your particular organization and what speaks most to your donors.
- And I’ll add my own fourth tip to this list – Make it Visible: We encourage some of our clients, through what we call a Search Engine Optimization report, to make sure that easy to find and easy to spot “Donation” or “Give Now” buttons appear everywhere on webpages and social media sites, making it both easy and visible to give. Perhaps someone has never given digitally or given to your organization at all, and having a visible, easy to access place to give will surely result in addition donations to your organization to someone who may not otherwise have been inclined to give a gift.