Here are 10 tips for your next fundraising campaign
Knowing the basics of online fundraising is important, but to make a campaign successful, there’s more you’ll need to do. We’ve compiled some tips for fundraising campaigns that you may not of heard before. We’ll dive deeper than what you find in your usual internet search.
1: Host a preview of your online fundraising campaign
Have a preview session of your fundraising campaign. This means showing it to your key donors and other close members of your charity. This will allow you to:
- Fix any issues with the campaign. From missing information on your donation form, creating better messaging, imagery and more.
- Raise money from the start. If your most devoted donors see it first, they will give right away, which will catch other people’s attention and encourage them to donate too!
- Get feedback on how to share your campaign. Your donors have a wealth of knowledge and may just suggest a winning way to get the word out about your campaign.
Our tip: Do a preview when you have time, generally a few months before your goal must be reached. This could be when you are creating a campaign for next year’s project. Previews are not ideal for any campaigns that are urgent. For example, many organizations started fundraisers in response to COVID-19 and the effects it was having on their beneficiaries. In this case, you want to get your campaign out to your community asap!
2: Optimize your donation page
The appearance of your donation page can have a huge impact on how successful your campaign will be. Whether your donation form is embedded, pops up, or opens in a separate tab, it should not have to compete with anything to draw the reader’s attention. If your donation platform allows for a background image, choose one that shows the campaign outcome, its beneficiaries, or the challenge at hand.
Finally, make sure the page looks good! You don’t need to hire a designer or spend hours sweating the details as long as you look for a few key things, such as:
- Uniform spacing between bodies of text
- Properly aligned/centered images and design elements
- A bold and eye-catching headline
- Matching colour scheme
If you’re stuck on the appearance, just remember to keep it simple.
3: Ensure your donation's page text and call to action are optimized for conversion
While a clearly laid out, attractive donation page will draw donors’ attention, your text and call to action should keep them hooked. The campaign headline should clearly convey the mission of your campaign (e.x. Miracle Run for Education), while the subheading quickly summarizes where donations are directed, the challenge at hand, and the effect donations will have.
In the body of your text, briefly elaborate on any questions your subheading may raise. Specifically, the body text should answer:
- Exactly what the funds will be used for (building a new computer lab, adding wheelchair accessibility etc.)
- What impact the funds will have (increased STEM learning and performance; a more inclusive environment)
- Who the main beneficiaries are (kids without a home computer, kids with a physical disability)
Finally, ditch the “Donate Now!” and draft a brief call-to-action that creates an urgent appeal to donate. Play up the fact that time to contribute to the campaign is limited (Give Cheer to a Family in Need this Christmas). You can also highlight the scope of your campaign (End Hunger in the Tri-State Area).
4: Suggest donation amounts and explain their impact
Donors are more likely to give when they really know where their contribution is going. Using images and numbers help donors understand how their donation is really going to make a difference. List four different donation options and explain what each amount can achieve.
Our tip: Keep each explanation simple and don’t let it go over 1 sentence. If you present too much information, it can be distracting to your donors.
5: Ask for monthly donations during your campaign
Did you know that returning donors are 440% more valuable than one-time donors? That’s because they give 42% more than one time donors in a year. Even though it might seem like large one time donations are the most important, it’s actually smaller recurring donations that pack the most punch.
This means that you need to be focusing on getting recurring donors when you launch your campaign. Don’t be afraid to encourage monthly donations. Do this by mentioning it in your campaign messaging and making the monthly donation button obvious on your donation form. Even better, explain how monthly donations impact your charity, so that donors understand that their recurring donation can help you plan for the future!
Once you have returning donors, be sure to nurture them throughout the campaign and afterwards. 91% of organizations stop communicating with monthly donors after 3 months. You may think that by reminding donors that they are giving to your organization could push them to stop. That’s a mistake! If your donors choose to give on a regular basis, it’s because they want to keep up with what your organization is doing.
Don’t be afraid to illustrate the impact of their gifts continuously by sending monthly emails with examples of how their donations have made a difference.
6: Be consistent with your campaign material
Creating fun branding and marketing material for your campaign is a great way to get people interested. Include posters, videos and social media templates that supporters can share with their networks. However, you need to make sure that all your marketing material is consistent with your charity’s branding. Always use the same logo, colours and fonts. This will allow:
- Your campaign material to be recognizable. Supporters will know its you (their favourite charity) right away!
- Your organization to gain credibility. If your material isn’t consistent, your charity will seem unorganized, making people less trusting and less likely to donate.
Campaign material tip from a community manager expert:
When participating in an existing campaign, adapt the logo and imaging to your own branding. This can come up when you are collaborating with other organizations or fundraising campaigns. For example, l’Itinéraire adapted the GivingTuesday logo by integrating it with their own. That way their followers recognized them right away and knew they wanted to donate!
- Alexandre Duguay, Community Manager at L’Itinéraire
7: Create stunning campaign visuals
Images can be shared easily and often speak louder than words. So, why not create a stunning, unforgettable image that will sensitize the community to your cause?
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: that’s easier said than done. But that’s ok, because as someone in the nonprofit sector, you spend your time ‘doing’ rather than ‘saying’.
You want your image to be moving and elicit an emotion and motivate its viewer to take action right away. Consider these options for your image:
- A picture of one of the beneficiaries of your mission.
- Volunteers working together towards your cause.
- Art depicting your organization’s vision.
- And other possibilities! Look within your charity’s work to find inspiration. What about your work motivates you and your colleagues? How can you capture this and show it to others?
Here’s an example a stunning piece of artwork raising awareness for the #blacklivesmatter movement:
If creating an image feels like too large of a task to take on, work with members in your community, like other organizations with similar causes to create one.
8: Involve your donors and staff in marketing efforts
Having your community contribute to how you publicize your campaign will multiply the amount of people you reach. You might of thought of doing this before, but this time actually do it! When members of the organization and donors feel personally involved, they are more likely to work hard to make it a success. Here are some ways you can get everyone involved:
- Have donors take a picture of themselves doing something that is related to your cause. Arrange the images into posters, share and tag the donors. For example, the Belgian charity Kom Op Tengen Kanker got donors to take a picture of themselves sticking out their tongue, in a campaign to fight child cancer. They then put all the pictures together to create a campaign post. Simple, yet impactful!
- Make an open call for a supporter to contribute art for your marketing campaign. You can ask for submissions and then choose someone and share their work. The whole community will be eager to see the result and will be invested in sharing it with their network.
- Have your staff pull a stunt. It could be anything to get your community excited. For example, rent a dunk tank and have a few people take turns getting dunked. Donors can be the ones throwing at the target to try to get them dunked. If you can’t have all your supporters attend, livestream it!
9: Leverage multiple technologies
Charities are becoming more and more inventive with the ways they use different technology features for their campaigns. You can do it too! Here’s an example to get you inspired:
The Scottish charity Cyrenians created a chat bot named “Alex”, a fictional homeless man. The chat bot was open to anyone who wanted to ask questions about homelessness, in order to decrease the stigma on the subject. It addresses why Alex became homeless, his current living situation, his interests and his hopes for the future. The campaign was aimed at highlighting common stereotypes and shining a light on the reasons people become homeless.
Don’t have the resources for this type of campaign tool? Reach out to your community and ask for their expertise. Or create something on a smaller scale, that requires less technical work. For example, make a video with testimonies from those who benefit from your charitable efforts.
Technology offers so many possibilities for your campaign, make sure to seize them! If you have one great piece of work that can really grab the attention of your supporters, you won’t need to focus on marketing as much. Your community will catch on and share it with the world.
10: Highlight accomplishments during the campaign
You and your entire organization are working hard on your mission, so make sure to highlight your work. Emphasizing your success, whether big or small, can have a refreshing effect on your campaign! It may just be the last push your staff and supporters need to obtain your goal or to stay motivated for the next campaign. Be sure to celebrate:
- When you make it to your halfway mark, let your supporters know the difference they’ve made so far! This will encourage them to keep pushing until your goal is reached.
- Internally. Why not celebrating your team by providing lunch, a happy hour or a game night? Let your staff know how much you and your community values them.
Our tip: A great way to show your progress is by using a thermometer of the amount you’ve raised. With Zeffy, you can embed your thermometer directly into your website. Having it on your home page is eye catching and will get donors to help you make it to your goal!