Fri, November 16 2007

13 Secrets of Holiday Fundraising Online

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

If you’re a procrastinator and are only just revving up your online fundraising, don’t worry.  The best is yet to come!  Most people do their online giving at the end of December, so you still have time for success.

I’d like to point you to the Procrastinator’s Guide to Year-End Fundraising by Sea Change Strategies and Care2.  You should definitely read the whole thing, but in the meantime, here are their ten steps to better online fundraising, PLUS my own three additions.  What I love about the list from Sea Change is that it doesn’t just tell you how to get a gift - it shows you how to keep the donor in a lasting relationship with you.

1. Inspire your donors.  Re-connect them with the passion and vision that inspired them to give in the first place.
2. Blaze trails to your donate page.  Make it easy for donors to give by making it easy to find your site and your Donate button.
3. Optimize your donate form.  Make it short, simple, easy, safe and inspiring.
4. Test drive your online donation process.  Sit down a few friends and watch them try to give.  Learn.  Fix problems.
5. Create a “Why Donate” page that makes a case for why someone should care - and explains what happens when someone gives.  Endorsements and ratings are good.
6. Thank your donor at least three times - when they complete a donation, when they get your email receipt and when they get your full thank-you via email a few days later.
7. Provide a warm welcome - an orientation email is a nice idea!
8. Launch a cultivation plan.  Re-inspire your donors monthly and listen to waht they say.  Build a relationship through conversation, not appeals.
9. Measure and test throughout the year. 
10. Avoid procrastinating next year!  Have a plan.  (Yeah, right.)

Katya’s three bonus tips:

Last night, I asked a group of folks in the MarketingProfs Book Club a question: When is the last time you gave?  The answers revealed three important themes to include in your fundraising thinking:

1. People want vivid examples of how their donations will be used.

So if your audience has given before, tell them all the great things they’ve done - then all the wonderful additional things more support will bring.

  As one MarketingProf member pointed out, “I give money regularly to groups where I have been able to see what they accomplish. I’m not impressed by marketing appeals, what interests me is being able to see the impact in action.”

2. Emotion motivates. People are more inclined to give if the cause is local or if they know the person asking for help.

This holiday, ask some of your biggest supporters to invite their friends and family to support you.  The passion they feel for your cause is incredibly compelling to their circles of influence.

  Bloggers may be a good target.  Says one MarketingProf member: “One of the things that I enjoy about blogging is that as the readership and influence of my blog grows, I have a greater ability to help promote ideas and causes. I’ve noticed that many of the blogs I read also make a point to promote their favorite causes and charities from time to time.  This of course costs us nothing, but I think it greatly benefits charities and causes, many of which aren’t very social-media savvy.”

3. Trust is sacred.  Be honest and transparent about your programs, your spending, your impact—everything.  As SeaChange advises,

show exactly where the money goes and what the donor’s investment will do.  And then report back on that investment, again and again

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