As we approach the deep fundraising season, many folks are asking about online fundraising, so I wanted to share a few things.
Remember that the internet is a tool you can use to raise money. Just like any other tool, it’s the your skill in using the tool that will determine success – not the tool itself.
It’s definitely NOT a “build it and they will come” model.
Just because you have a website or a Facebook page does not mean people will flock to it and give you money.
Lots of people have asked me how to raise money online and I get the sense that they think it’s something hard or mystical. Actually, it’s not anything magical at all. It’s simply fundraising using the Internet as a tool.
To make it really easy, I’ve got seven simple steps you can take to get started or crank up your online fundraising efforts.
- Collect email addresses at every opportunity. Since email will be your primary communications mechanism, ask every chance you get, both online and off. Make sure you have a sign-up box on your website for people to enter their name and email.
- Communicate. Send regular, consistent newsletters and updates. You can send a once-monthly newsletter or a twice-monthly update. The key is to send regular information that your audience will be interested in.
- Have a big, easy-to-see “Donate Now” button on your website. Put it toward the top of the page and make sure it shows up on every page. Make it easy for your website visitors to find the button and respond to it.
- Tell your story on your website. Make sure your website clearly states who your organization is and the need your organization is working to fill. Don’t make your website visitors wonder who you are or what you’re trying to do. Be sure to include some compelling photos to illustrate your work.
- Be concise. People are impatient online so keep the text short and to the point. This is not the time to share everything you know!
- Thank donors electronically. Be prepared to thank people via email when they give online. You’ll likely want to invest in a software or service that can do this for you.
- Leverage your social media. Use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to encourage people to visit your website and sign up for your email newsletter. This is known as “driving traffic” and helps build awareness for your cause.
Implement these simple tips and your online fundraising efforts will pay off in dollars and time.