Online fundraising is an increasingly important trend for nonprofits looking to boost engagement and drive success.
In 2021 alone, online giving grew by 12.1%. That means building a digital fundraising strategy should be a top priority for your organization, if it isn’t already.
In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about online giving, including:
- What is online giving?
- What are the benefits of online giving?
- 7 Tools to Make Your Digital Fundraising Efforts a Success
From facilitating nonprofit payments to hosting virtual events, online fundraising makes it easier than ever to meet donors where they are. Ready to take your digital fundraising efforts to the next level? Let’s get started with the basics.
What is online giving?
Online fundraising allows nonprofits to raise money through internet-powered platforms. The most common way to maximize online giving is to create a well-designed nonprofit website. From this one location, you can host virtual or hybrid events, solicit donations, market your fundraising campaigns, and more!
What are the benefits of online giving?
Online giving is mutually beneficial for nonprofits and donors. nline fundraising not only helps nonprofits to expand giving opportunities, but it also provides donors with the convenience of lending their support anytime, anywhere.
That’s the beauty of online giving– its automated processes save everyone time. Rather than waiting to receive a check through the mail and manually entering the information into a database, nonprofits can receive valuable funds in seconds. All donors have to do is enter their payment information, and they will automatically receive a thank-you note and tax receipt in return.
Then, your organization can work efficiently to build long-lasting relationships with these supporters.
7 Tools to Make Your Digital Fundraising Efforts a Success
Digital fundraising enables donors to give quickly and securely. Consider using these seven tools to maximize your efforts:
1. User-friendly CMS
The first step in getting started with digital fundraising is to choose the right content management system (CMS) to build and grow your online presence. A CMS helps you create a fully-functioning website without having to hire developers and build it from scratch with code.
If you’re in the process of revamping your nonprofit website or choosing your very first CMS, follow these tips for the best results:
- Consider your objectives. Decide what role your nonprofit site will play in your larger fundraising efforts. For instance, are you looking to drive event registrations? Do you want to increase email newsletter subscriptions? Does your nonprofit need help promoting upcoming campaigns? Answering these questions will help your nonprofit make informed decisions and find the best CMS.
- Compare the top platforms. There are several popular CMS platforms on the market, including WordPress, Drupal, and Squarespace. While each platform is customizable and intuitive, it’s important to compare features and request demos to determine the right fit for your organization.
- Pay attention to site design. After you pick a CMS, focus on perfecting your site’s appearance. Use the themes that are available through your software to establish a professional, visually pleasing experience for users.
Choosing a CMS will have long-lasting implications for your nonprofit, affecting every online fundraising decision that you make. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a platform that adapts to your nonprofit’s needs.
2. Mobile-Responsive Donation Page
If you want to grow your donor base and drive donations, start by optimizing your online donation page for every device, whether that’s a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
With the right CMS, you can automatically adjust your donation page to fit the screen on which it is displayed, allowing people to give whenever and wherever they please.
Here are some key optimization factors:
- Scalability: Make sure your images and text are visible, clear, and size-adjustable depending on the screen they are viewed on.
- Limited form fields: People are less likely to fill out a time-consuming and confusing form on their phones. That’s why you should only require essential information, like contact details and donation amounts, on your donation form.
- Page speed: Ensure your donation page loads quickly on any device by limiting redirects and compressing images.
Having a mobile-friendly web presence makes the online giving process quick and convenient, ultimately encouraging donors to give again.
3. Donor Management System
A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM), otherwise known as a donor management system in the mission-driven sector, is designed to help nonprofits raise more funds by developing meaningful relationships with supporters.
While this platform isn’t specifically designed for fundraising, it stores information about each donor’s giving history, which can then be used to plan effective appeals, create personalized communications, or prepare for a compelling event. Your CRM is also great at identifying patterns in giving,
Ensure your CRM includes these features:
- Donor profiles: Each donor should be assigned a profile that includes their contact information, relevant interests, and engagement history.
- Giving patterns: Based on a donor’s average gift amount and frequency, this feature helps to identify prospects for major or recurring gifts as well as lapsed donors.
- Donor segmentation: Powerful CRMs will segment donors into well-defined groups that can be used to target the right supporters and communicate with them in an impactful way.
The right CRM will organize important information that your nonprofit can then use to power your online fundraising initiatives.
4. Social Media
Spreading your organization’s message is easier than ever thanks to social media. Whether your nonprofit wants to reach new donors, increase your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), or share important updates, having a social media presence is an essential digital fundraising tool.
The following tips will help your nonprofit stand out on social media:
- Decide on the best platforms. Nonprofits new to social media may feel the need to establish themselves on every platform, but we recommend concentrating your efforts on one to two accounts to startw with. Research your donor base and choose the social media channels that appeal to that demographic. For instance, Tiktok is popular among younger generations, while Instagram is used across all age groups.
- Reach out to influencers. Reach out to nonprofit influencers who already have a large following and ask if they would be willing to share your mission or promote your upcoming campaign. It’s likely that their mission-driven audience will take notice of your organization and take action.
- Promote peer-to-peer fundraising. Post your campaign information alongside a compelling caption, photo, or video. Then, ask your audience to share your post and create their own fundraiser pages. This will hopefully create some buzz about your nonprofit and spark a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
With these social media best practices in mind, you’ll be well on your way to reach your fundraising goals.
5. Google Ad Grant
The Google Ad Grant is a digital fundraising tool that empowers nonprofits to spread awareness for their causes and campaigns. The program provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 in free advertising credits every month, which can be used to bid on different keywords and promote specific pages on their site through text-based ads. As a result, their donation pages, campaign information, and blog posts should reach people searching for similar causes.
To qualify for the Google Ad Grant, your nonprofit must meet the following standards:
- Hold current and valid 501(c)(3) status.
- Acknowledge and agree to the Google Ad Grant’s terms of service.
- Have a functioning website that provides valuable content regarding your nonprofit and its mission.
- Maintain a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your website.
As long as you continue to meet these eligibility requirements, this search engine endowment will automatically reactivate each month. If you’re looking to take control of your digital fundraising strategy, we fully recommend that you apply.
6. Matching Gift Software
When it comes to fundraising online, nonprofits are constantly looking for new ways to drive donations. Thankfully, there is a form of corporate philanthropy in which employers financially match the contributions that their employees make to nonprofits.
These corporate matching gift programs, according to Double the Donation’s matching gift guide, can double or even triple the money you’re raising online, without having to ask donors to reach back into their wallets.
If you want to increase your nonprofit’s matching gift revenue, there are a few things you can do:
- Send out matching gift emails that remind donors to check their eligibility.
- Create a dedicated matching gift page on your website.
- Embed an employer search tool on your online fundraising form.
- Send a recognition letter after receiving a matching gift from an employer.
Matching gifts are an effective way of multiplying the fundraising revenue you’re already receiving. Just remember to spread awareness about matching gifts to donors, as many eligible supporters likely don’t know that they are.
7. Secure Payment Processor
Online giving requires donors to release sensitive financial and personal information. Imagine if their credit card numbers were to be compromised. That would not only damage your nonprofit’s reputation but also deter donors from lending their support in the future.
To foster trust and confidence in your organization, invest in a secure payment processor that keeps their information safe and has the following features:
- Tokenization: Tokenization protects payment information by converting it into a string of randomly generated numbers called a “token.” If a hacker breaches your database, your donors’ credit card numbers and billing addresses will be safeguarded.
- PCI Compliance: According to iATS Payments’ guide to PCI compliance, it’s important to choose a processor that complies with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards, because it means they work diligently to protect cardholders from data leaks and theft.
- Fraud Protection: Seek out a provider that has risk management measures in place to detect, prevent, and protect against unauthorized transactions.
Supporting your digital fundraising campaigns with a secure payment processor will give donors the confidence they need to make a contribution.
From social media to payment processors, these online giving tools will set your nonprofit up for success and help expand your fundraising reach. Plus, the long term ROI will be well worth your efforts.