According to a new report, online giving to nonprofit charitable organizations increased by nearly 8% in 2016 — continuing the trend upward for online giving that's been happening for the past few years. This is not to say that the traditional means of fundraising have fallen out of style with donors. Over 90% of nonprofit charitable giving still takes place through traditional means of fundraising like direct mail, major gifts and events.
But clearly, online fundraising is becoming more and more important for nonprofits. With that in mind, here are five important tips to help your nonprofit get the most out of digital fundraising:
- Integrate – Make sure that all of your nonprofit’s fundraising channels are working together. Let your direct mail campaign drive the train, and let your online giving platforms mimic that in terms of message, design and goals. “Joint online and offline campaigns improve donor engagement. People who give both online and offline are more likely to keep giving than those who donate exclusively online or offline. Organizations retain about 58% of multi-channel first time donors as opposed to retaining only 29% of offline-only donors and 23% of online-only donors.”
- Email Is Essential –Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels are great tools, but only account for a small fraction of a nonprofit’s total donations. Email fundraising, however, represent a full third of all online giving. That is especially important when you consider the significant cost of online advertising. Although email has a cost as well, it is not nearly as much. Sure, it takes a lot of effort to improve your nonprofit’s email list, but it’s an effort that can pay real dividends.
- Be Mobile Ready – We've given a few important stats on online giving. Well, here's another one: In 2015, 18% of online donations came from a mobile device. That's a significant percentage, expected to increase over the next few years. So make sure your nonprofit’s webpage, email templates, and donation pages are all mobile friendly. If they are not, you are, as they say, leaving a lot of money on the table.
- Close Out the Year Strong – There are two essential campaigns at the end of year that your nonprofit needs to gear up for: Giving Tuesday and the Year-End Email Series. If you don't know about these, you need to quickly become familiar with them. “Online giving is most prolific at the end of the year. Eggnog, twinkly lights, bonus checks, Giving Tuesday, and the closing fiscal year means a spike in generosity. 19% of 2015 online giving happened in December with Giving Tuesday as a major catalyst (Giving Tuesday donations increased 52% from 2014).”
- Use Email and Social Media to Promote Campaigns – As we mentioned above, online and offline campaigns run in tandem do much better. But there is another important relationship that must be cultivated between different online platforms: one of harmony. Your nonprofit’s various channels of communication with supporters shouldn’t be competing with each other. You need donations to do the important work you do, it shouldn’t matter where those gifts come from. Every channel should work together in support of the same goal.
To learn more about digital fundraising, download our Fundraising Email Tip Sheet, by clicking on the icon below: