By: John Killoran
In recent years, many nonprofit organizations have moved their fundraising strategies online in creative, exciting ways. It’s important to take these lessons from the past few years and use it to your fundraising advantage going forward.
Using insights from the most effective online and hybrid campaigns, you can develop actionable strategies for this year. There’s no doubt that online fundraising is here to stay. Here are some key ways you can set your organization up for success this year:
- Implement a hybrid fundraising event strategy.
- Promote your organization across multiple platforms.
- Leverage text-to-give capabilities.
Let’s dive into how your organization can personalize your online messaging, widen your reach, and meet your fundraising goals this year and beyond.
Implement a hybrid fundraising event strategy.
Both in-person and online fundraising events offer unique opportunities and benefits, and both types of events work well with the right strategies. Let’s dive deeper into why each event type can benefit your fundraising schedule this year.
Traditional in-person events offer a wealth of benefits for your community of supporters. With the right in-person events, your organization can benefit from:
- Deepened relationships with constituents from invaluable face-to-face interactions
- A sense of community behind your cause
- Opportunities for event photography and videography for future marketing content
Because of the personal relationships you can develop through in-person events, it’s worth incorporating them into your overall fundraising strategy. Consider the benefits of these three events:
- Encourage community with a neighborhood clean-up.
- Engage families with a charity carnival.
- Generate excitement and friendly competition with a 5k event.
Use information about your supporters’ preferences to choose an event that will resonate with your audience. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from supporters after the event so you can gather insight for your future approach to fundraising.
Virtual fundraising events increase convenience for your team and constituents. Such events allow your nonprofit to significantly boost your fundraising profits by limiting overhead costs and maximizing revenue. Here’s how it can work for you:
- Supporters can participate in your fundraiser from anywhere in the world.
- With the help of intuitive online payment platforms, you can increase opportunities for donations.
- Fundraisers can take place in a single day or over a few weeks, depending on the campaign you have in mind
Choose a virtual fundraising event designed specifically for the online space, such as a crowdfunding campaign, or easily turn an in-person event into a virtual one. For example, follow Snowball’s steps to turn your auction virtual, and reap benefits such as increased accessibility and intuitive online bidding.
Combine the benefits of both virtual and in-person events by hosting a hybrid event. A hybrid fundraiser has an online component such as a live stream or webinar, but provides an in-person experience as well. Here’s how it can set you up for success:
- Supporters can attend from anywhere.
- You can effectively foster a sense of community through the in-person aspect and by frequently checking in with your virtual audience.
- Online features like mobile bidding simplify events for guests and add excitement.
- Videos can elevate your event by adding another level of engagement.
As a nonprofit professional, you’re able to take any previous successful fundraising event idea and turn it into a hybrid one. Some popular options include:
- Hybrid auctions
- Hybrid galas
- Hybrid Q&A webinars
With multiple methods of hosting your next event, you can include more constituents and raise more money. Be sure to market your event effectively, and you’ll be in the best position to run a successful fundraiser.
Promote your organization across multiple platforms.
Having a robust and personalized online presence is crucial to reach supporters and keep them engaged. By providing information about your organization and efforts across multiple communication channels, you can effectively attract more users to your website and convert users into donors.
There are plenty of creative ways to engage with your audience online within the social media realm. Regardless of which channels you choose (we recommend a combination of multiple platforms), you can get creative with your content and branding.
Here’s what to consider when creating a social media strategy for your nonprofit marketing efforts:
- Use donor data to determine which platforms your audience uses most so you can meet them where they are online.
- Leverage existing analytics to determine traffic trends on your pages.
- Determine which platform makes the most sense for the content you’ll be posting. For example, Facebook has an event RSVP option that many nonprofits use for marketing fundraisers.
Besides offering multiple outlets for posting, social media platforms are a crucial facet of your strategy because of the benefits they offer:
- It’s free to post your content.
- Donors can follow and share your pages with their individual social networks.
- Your organization is integrated into supporters’ lives when they check social media.
Regardless of the platform, make sure you’re producing engaging content with clear calls to action. For example, lead people to your event registration page or your donation form easily from your social media profile!
Your emails compete with every other brand and organization in a supporter’s inbox, so you need to find ways to capture supporters’ attention. Write messages that are as engaging and informative as possible. Otherwise, you risk decreasing your open and click-through rates.
A few key steps to take when promoting your mission online include:
- Make the message personal. Donors respond well to messages that are written with intention. You’ll want to use their name, rather than a generic, “Dear Donor.” Use donor demographic information, such as age group and location, to create segments of donors and easily personalize messages for each subset of your audience.
- Clearly communicate their impact on your cause. A reminder of why your donors are the heroes of your mission helps promote recurring gifts and deepens your relationship with your constituents.
- Include a call to action. Now that you have their attention, where are you directing them? This is a perfect opportunity to easily guide them to a volunteer signup or fundraising campaign page. Include multiple links to important pages on your website for easy navigation.
Email is extremely effective because your supporters are on their phones constantly, and your notifications will appear in their everyday lives. Ensure that your organization takes full advantage of this convenience this year!
Pages on your nonprofit’s website should be linked in each piece of marketing content you create to increase traffic. After all, your website is more than just a catch-all for online donations. Encourage further engagement by including the following elements on your site:
- An events calendar
- Opportunities to volunteer with your organization
- Social media integration
- The context surrounding your mission and impact
By providing additional information about upcoming events and how to get involved, your website visitors will be able to easily join your nonprofit in driving change. Be sure to include multiple ways to get in touch with your team, in case they have questions or comments.
Leverage text-to-give capabilities.
Text-to-give is a modern fundraising method that offers an easy way to contribute via mobile devices from anywhere at any time. Text-to-give is quick, secure, and attracts all types of supporters. According to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, text message open rates are as high as 98%. This is an opportunity to get your message in front of supporters that they can’t miss.
Take advantage of this convenient and powerful strategy by using these tips to maximize results:
- Use robust text-to-give software.
- Choose a unique keyword.
- Promote your text-to-give option to your constituents.
Once supporters text your keyword to your dedicated mobile giving number, they’ll be able to make a gift through your donation page. The process is easy and takes them through the giving process with only a few minutes of their time. They’re likely to continue giving to your cause once they find out how simple it is to do so through their mobile devices.
Your nonprofit organization can have continued success this year when meeting constituents where they are, which is online. With engaging hybrid fundraising events, multi-channel marketing, and text-to-give, you’ll be able to drive amazing fundraising results.
John Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Snowball Fundraising, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations.
Snowball was one of John’s first public innovations; it’s a fundraising platform that offers text-to-give, online giving, events, and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofits. By making giving simple, Snowball increases the donations that these organizations can raise online. The Snowball effect is real! John founded Snowball in 2011. Now, it serves over 7,000 nonprofits and is the #1 nonprofit fundraising platform.