Network for Good just released a new online giving study that provides all kinds of good ideas for increasing the amount of money you can raise online. It’s not about coming up with gimmicks; it’s about creating connections and building relationships with your donors.
Here’s one of the central lessons from this study of over $381 million in online giving, including 3.6 million gifts to 66,470 different nonprofits between 2003 and 2009: Even small upgrades to the donor experience make a measurable difference in online giving. What might some of those small upgrades be?
Be on the donation page with your donors! The study shows that loyalty (i.e. repeat giving) is 66.7% lower for donors acquired through generic donation pages than for donors who give via charity-branded giving pages. In other words, the donation page really does need to look like a part of your website (or at least be very consistent with your overall branding) and not like some generic credit card page you’d find anywhere.
Invest in your website. Social media is not coming to the rescue; you need to spend resources in developing your own website. Donors who gave via the charity’s website gave a bigger first gift and continued to give more over time than donors who gave through other charity portals (e.g. GuideStar or CharityNavigator) or social media (e.g. Facebook Causes).
Offer automated monthly giving. About 1 in 10 donors through Network for Good’s system are giving automated regular gifts, with monthly giving as the most popular frequency. Always offer your donors this option, and provide a compelling reason why a monthly gift is especially important to achieving your goals.
Point your giving portal and social media profiles back to your website. While giving through charity portals and social media isn’t as strong as direct giving through your website, it can still be a significant “first date” in your relationship with donors because they allow you to capture those “impulse givers.” To increase the likelihood of that second date, make sure that you keep your various profiles on other websites up to date and that you do what you can (and it varies by site) to encourage people to click over to your website. For example, in your profile box on your Facebook page and Twitter feed, include a link to your website.
If nothing else, email an ask the last few days of December. This is one of those stats that’s tough-to-believe, but true: Of all the gifts Network for Good processes over the course of the year, 22% comes in on the last two days of December. Obviously, if you aren’t already communicating with your supporters regularly via email, then sending a last-minute appeal on December 30 isn’t going to produce the same kind of results as it would for an organization with a more well-established year-round marketing and fundraising strategy, but c’mon, it’s worth a shot.
Need Some Help with This Stuff?
If you are still trying to get your online fundraising in gear, join me over at Charity How To on Tuesday, December 14 at 1:00 pm ET (10:00 am PT) for Online Fundraising Fundamentals: Tools and Strategies for Success. The webinar includes several bonuses that will come in handy:
- Online Fundraising Cheat Sheet – The critical must-knows and must-dos, all in a simple two-page guide.
- Website Home Page Checklist
- Website Donate Now Page Checklist
- Email Fundraising Checklist
- Online Donor Follow-up Checklist