Our communities have obviously been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every element of society has been impacted, and we’ve been forced to reexamine many of the things we do, including fundraising.
A digital shift has occurred, bringing us to a point that many didn’t expect to see for years. Online shopping has dramatically increased and contactless payment systems have seen major growth. Neither of these trends is expected to change after the pandemic. In 2020, 80% of donors preferred to give online. In the same year, online donations for K-12 schools were $360 higher on average than other donation types, but only accounted for 13.5% of overall giving. Among medical research organizations, online donations were only 8% of total giving and only 4.5% for healthcare organizations. In the current digital revolution, organizations and industries have an opportunity to benefit from this rise in online donations.
To take advantage of digital fundraising, it’s important to have a strategy. Here are a few tips to help you build a plan for success.
1. Know Your Donors
There are generally two types of donors, deliberate and impulsive. Deliberate donors research organizations and put more thought into how they contribute. Impulsive donors offer quick gifts with little analysis. They react to the appeal of donating rather than considering long-term donation plans. The often mobile nature of digital fundraising means that these impulsive donors should be who you focus on.
2. Keep It Simple
Impulsive donors lose interest quickly. Create as few steps as possible between your donor and the donation. When possible, supply them with a direct link to your campaign. When you communicate your reason for fundraising, keep it short and to the point. The more complicated the giving process, the less likely they are to make an offering.
3. Create An Emotional Response
If there is a connection between someone and your cause, it will establish an appeal that encourages them to offer support. Show the benefits their gift will provide over time with images and video. Offer examples of specific people who will benefit. If they see and understand the impact their donation will have on individuals and the community, they will be more driven to give.
4. Focus On The Unique
There’s a limited amount of time that people will take to weigh the pros and cons of a decision. Focus on unique attributes of your campaign and spend less attention on points they likely already know or understand. Mixing this new information with what they’re familiar with allows them to make the decision to donate faster.
5. Create Influencers
People can be greatly influenced by the words and actions of their peers. If a person sees someone that they know made a donation, it may encourage them to do the same. To create this effect, encourage donors to share your campaigns on social media. Share quotes from those who’ve donated discussing why they made the decision to give. Seeing the reason behind a gift can be more powerful than just knowing that they gave.
6. Feature Your Donors
Highlight donors through recognition and reward. For many, the causes they support are part of their identity. Offering a special title can be an incentive to give. For example, people who support Kickstarter campaigns are known as “Backers”. By providing them with this designation, they now feel more a part of what they’re funding. Physical rewards like wearables that promote their contribution can also influence how much they give. Create rewards tiers, and promote those who give for each tier. For example, if you donate at a certain level, your name will be added to a plaque that will be predominantly displayed in our building.
As the world transitions to digital platforms, it’s important to know how to use them to your advantage. Platforms like RocketJar are different from traditional fundraising, but they offer beneficial perks and tools. Overhead costs are lower, your potential donor pool is larger, and it’s easier to succinctly describe your goals. With an informed approach, digital fundraising can provide a financial boom to your school or organization.