Strategy, development & support for coalitions, associations, organizations and initiatives

WNA supports our clients in achieving financial sustainability and stewardship through the creation of development plans and strategies. Whether you are just getting started or would like to refine your existing online giving strategy, here are some great tips authored by our talented intern and current University of Texas student, Alenis Leon.

Online giving is on the rise, growing about 13.5% in 2013 alone. Non-profit organizations and initiatives can take advantage of a variety of tools to allow them to create powerful fundraising campaigns throughout the entire year. In 2014, Amplify Austin, a local 24-hour online giving campaign, helped over 400 local non-profits raise $5.7 million. Clearly, online fundraising is on the rise, and utilized properly, it can deliver powerful results to your nonprofit. Online fundraising can not only allow you to raise funds, it allows you to connect to new and old donors alike, raise awareness about your cause, and find potential volunteers. Online fundraising is easier than it seems, requiring minimal staff or volunteer hours as compared to traditional event fundraisers. Once you decide that online fundraising is right for you, here are 5 tips to building a successful online giving campaign:

1. Create a compelling cause. First, you’ll need to decide what you’re fundraising for. Do you have a specific project that you’re trying to get off the ground? Do you have a monetary goal that you need in order to create or complete a program? Online fundraising tend to work best when the project you’re raising funds for is new and exciting to potential donors. However, this is not to say that you can’t successfully fund raise to meet current project expenses or even overhead costs. In your fundraising platform, highlight the importance of your work, client stories, and the impact that each dollar raised will have on your organization and most importantly, on the lives of the people you help.

2. Find a platform to host your campaign (and beware of fees). There are a variety of online fundraising platforms available, such as indigogo.com and youcaring.com. Most, if not all online fundraising platforms charge fees, so make sure you explore the different options out there and find the one that best fits your cause and your organization. Each platform will allow you to display your cause and connect to donors differently.

3. Get social. Online fundraising campaigns are by nature dependent on social media in order to be successful. If your organization does not have a strong social media presence, an online fundraising campaign might help you to boost this presence, but it can also prove challenging to connect to donors and have your campaign be a success. Regardless, promoting your campaign on social media is very important. Ask your staff and volunteers to share your campaign with their friends. Promote your social media efforts through your website and newsletters. Your goal should be to reach as many people as possible.

4. Don’t forget old donors. If you’ve been having trouble engaging your old donors, reaching out to them during an online fundraising campaign might be a good way to revitalize their interest in your cause. Use your email contact list to spread the word about your fundraising campaign and to ask your current supporters to give to your organization. Send positive emails in a timely manner. Send an email announcing the date your campaign begins, and send periodic emails throughout the duration of your campaign. Don’t overuse your email contact list, but send enough emails to remind your audience to give and engage with your online fundraiser.

5. Say thank you… and fast! As always, make sure you thank all of your supporters, new and old alike for their contributions.

What’s your experience with online giving? Is it a passing fad or an essential part of your fundraising model? Share your experience in a comment below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Woollard Nichols & Associates is a consulting firm committed to building capacity for impact through strategy, development & support for social sector coalitions, associations, organizations and other initiatives.

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