Our Top 4 Tips for Effective Digital Fundraising
There’s no formal rulebook for success in digital fundraising (just lots and lots of testing, learning, and tweaking), but we’ve picked up a few tips that have been working well for our clients. Read on for our top tips for raising money online!
Testing 1, 2, 3
Every fundraising program has its own personality, so it’s okay (and encouraged!) to try new ideas to see what works. We’re finding, for example, that longer subject lines increase email open rates and emojis and some all-caps text in ads increase engagement. Try some new creative to freshen up your ads, like turning a still image into a GIF. Use a mix of highly-produced creative mixed with plain image ads and Facebook Live videos to see what resonates most with your audiences.
Want to dive into testing even further? Try A/B testing. You can compare results side-by-side and learn in real-time what works for your program. Platforms like Facebook have even added technology that allows you to automatically mix and match every piece of your ad (creative, headline, ad copy) to optimize for the best performing version. Numerous pieces can be tested within a given adset, making it more like A-Z or A-infinity testing!
But remember, it’s not just about testing. Make a plan to go back through your data to see what worked and what didn’t, and plan for future tests based on your results.
Share The Story
Tell people why it all matters. Is your candidate running for office because she believes in expanding healthcare after losing a family member to illness? Was your cause founded because there were no other nonprofits in the area doing that work? Tell that story and leverage digital to bring it to life.
People engage with brands they feel personally invested in, so use personal stories, quotes, videos, and candid photos to help people connect. Use conversational language and avoid corporate-speak or industry terms that folks won’t understand. Respond to emails and comments on ads to show people you’re authentic, and encourage them to keep reaching out and engaging.
And of course, talk about how the donation will be used! We’ve found that people respond well when donation options are tied directly to practical deliverables (Ex. $15 buys a pizza for volunteers, $25 buys office supplies, etc.)
Set a fundraising goal and share it with your audience to help create buy-in and inspire action.
“With just $1,500, we can provide new textbooks to every student in the program. Will you chip in $5 right now to help us meet our monthly goal?”
Setting a high, but still attainable goal, creates urgency and helps people understand why their donation matters. And keep referring back to that goal with progress-to-goal updates. Not only will it keep your fundraising ask top-of-mind, it will also create a little bit of #FOMO for folks that don’t want to be left out of this good deed!
“You’ve already helped eight of our students receive new textbooks for the school year! With just $300 more before the end of the month, you can help us provide new textbooks for our last three students. Will you donate $25 right now to put us over the top?”
Treat Your Audience as Individuals, Not a Group
Sophisticated targeting can help you locate money in places you wouldn’t expect. Rather than approaching each ad campaign or email segment as fixed, think about creative ways to serve different content to different people. Take donor history, for example. You can send a slightly varied message to existing donors that recognizes them as valuable contributors and has a fundraising ask tailored to their giving history. Or, you can target on an issue-based level. For example, someone who cares about the environment probably also cares about animals and would respond well to ads about animal rights. You can target based on interests, location, engagement history, and more. We find segmentation effective and more personal. And no matter what — keep testing different content to different audiences and track your results!
Digital fundraising is an exciting way to promote what you care about. Although it can feel daunting, there’s no better feeling than landing on an issue that resonates with your audience and raises lots of money for your candidate or cause. Happy fundraising!