Figuring out what kind of online fundraising strategy will work for your nonprofit is a tough balancing act. After all, investing in online fundraising software requires careful planning and sometimes, it can seem like there are too many tools out there to choose from.
However, in this digital age it’s more important than ever that nonprofits take online fundraising seriously. Without the right software on hand, your organization could be missing out on untold amounts of potential revenue.
Do you think your nonprofit needs to take a second look at how you leverage fundraising software to boost donations?1
Whether your team is looking to strengthen your peer-to-peer fundraising pages,2 more effectively fundraise through year-round online giving forms, or accomplish something else entirely, you’ll want to take a look at these smart strategies:
- Abide by donation form best practices.
- Maximize contributions from donors.
- Make giving fun for your donors.
All it takes to master online fundraising is brushing up on the tools your team needs and the best ways to implement them. Let’s dive into our favorite online fundraising software strategies so you can start raising more money for your cause!
1. Abide by donation form best practices.
A smart online fundraising software strategy needs to begin with an understanding of donation form best practices. Without optimized giving forms and pages, your team risks losing out on supporters who want to give to your nonprofit online.
With the right fundraising software, your nonprofit can build effective donation forms and pages that can be easily shared across all of your digital engagement channels: email, social media, and your website.
Not only that, but when online giving forms are streamlined, intuitive, and designed to drive donations, your organization is guaranteed to see an uptick in contributions.3
Check out some of our favorite ways you can customize donation forms to boost giving rates:
- Brand the form for your nonprofit. Your giving form should be a seamless element of your web presence. It should match your organization’s color scheme, feature your nonprofit’s logo, and include photos to put a personal face to your organization. 4
- Put your mission first. Not only should your giving form feature your nonprofit’s mission statement, but your form should clearly show how your fundraising campaign aligns with the aims of your organization. Donors are more willing to contribute when they know which initiatives their donations are going to support!
- Customize form fields. Include custom fields to collect the kind of donor info your nonprofit can use to strengthen your engagement strategy down the line. Include fields for contact info, social media handles, and employer. Be aware that adding too many additional fields can negatively affect conversion rates, so include those fields only when it’s appropriate for the campaign.
The bottom line? The more control your online fundraising software affords your team in designing your giving experience, the more likely it is your nonprofit will be able to boost giving rates among supporters.
The same logic applies to where and how your supporters encounter your giving form. Not all of your supporters will be accessing your site through a traditional PC. Many won’t even visit your homepage at all before they give!
This is why it’s important for your online fundraising platform to give your team the freedom to make giving compatible with all kinds of online donors.
Your online fundraising solution should empower your team to:
- Create mobile-optimized giving forms for smartphone and tablet users.
- Design digital giving forms that can be used on site at fundraising events.
- Add giving forms to your Facebook page to collect gifts through social media.
When your online giving software makes it simple to reach individuals where they already are, you’re bound to connect with more donors!
2. Maximize contributions from donors.
Making the most of your online donation revenue depends upon having key fundraising tools in place to maximize the power of your supporters’ gifts. This might involve steering them toward a gift upgrade, laying the groundwork for repeat donations, or other strategies.
Let’s take a look at how certain online fundraising software can help your nonprofit get more out of your donor relationships. Consider the power of donor accounts.5
Donor accounts offer a way for supporters to come back again and again to your nonprofit and give conveniently every time. These accounts give donors the power to:
- View their giving history with your nonprofit.
- Manage donations and recurring gift subscriptions.
- Add payment information like credit cards, addresses, and more.
With donor accounts, your team can increase the likelihood of maintaining a consistent relationship with donors for years to come simply because accounts make it more convenient for supporters to give repeatedly.
Another great online fundraising tool that nonprofits can use to get more mileage out of their supporters’ giving is gift-upgrade features. These features make it simple for your donors to make a more impactful contribution as they complete their giving form.
Gift upgrade features include:
- Easy recurring gift opt-in boxes on donation pages.6
- Gift suggestion buttons that show supporters your desired gift ranges.
- Gift assist features that let donors add a little extra money to their gift to cover payment processing fees.
Finally, there’s one online fundraising tool that many nonprofits (and donors) are simply unaware of: matching gift software.
With matching gift tools,7 nonprofits like yours can drive supporters toward submitting matching gift requests to their employers.
Your nonprofit can leverage this software by:
- Including a matching gift database in prominent parts of your website.
- Promoting matching gifts to individuals before, during, and after donation.
- Screening constituents to single out supporters who work for an employer with a matching gifts program in place.
Not only does matching gift software double (or triple) the contributions you receive from qualifying supporters, but it also acts as a catalyst for gift upgrades. If an individual knows the minimum or maximum amount their employer will match, they’re more likely to increase their gift to that level.
3. Make giving fun for your donors.
If there’s one major deterrent to maintaining a healthy relationship with donors online, it’s a lack of attention to the donor community experience. You need your supporters to feel proud to count themselves as a part of your community!
One of the more effective ways8 nonprofits leverage online fundraising software to boost giving among supporters is through gamification tools. These simple features help make interacting with your nonprofit fun for supporters, increasing the likelihood that they’ll give (or give again).
Your team can incorporate a number of gamification tools into your online fundraising strategy, including:
- Badges that are awarded to fundraisers who meet certain fundraising milestones.
- Fundraising thermometers to illustrate your campaign progress.
- Leaderboards to rank high-performing fundraisers.
Many of these tools are used in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, a style of online fundraising that allows supporters to create pages on behalf of your nonprofit and fundraise for your cause.
What’s great about peer-to-peer fundraising is that it lets your nonprofit reach the personal networks of your fundraisers when they share their campaign. By leveraging this strategy, your nonprofit is able to boost donations while simultaneously growing your community.
You can encourage peer-to-peer fundraising among constituents by choosing online fundraising software that enables:
- Fundraising page customization (including personal photos, bios, icons, and other elements).
- Social sharing tools that help fundraisers get the word out about their peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
- Linking individual peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns to larger fundraisers or fundraising events to build a sense of community.
The easier it is for fundraisers to feel connected to your cause, and the more intuitive it is for them to fundraise on behalf of your organization, the more enjoyable using your peer-to-peer fundraising platform will be.9
Finally, another great way to make fundraising fun for your community is to use merchandise sales tools to sell apparel as a way to raise money for your nonprofit.
By launching an online storefront, you give supporters the freedom to contribute to your campaign in a manner more convenient to them. Your storefront might offer:
- Customized apparel branded to your organization so supporters can show the world how much they love your nonprofit.
- Event-specific apparel (like t-shirts for walkathons) that gets supporters excited for an upcoming fundraising event.
- New member t-shirts that are offered to supporters when they first make a gift to your organization.
As much as your dedicated supporters love giving back, everyone is happier when they get something in return for their donations. By offering individuals the choice to make a donation, purchase apparel, or both, everyone wins!
Trying to figure out which online fundraising tools are right for your nonprofit can seem daunting. However, with these software options in mind, finding a platform that meets your needs is a no-brainer!
In the meantime, check out these additional resources about online fundraising:
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.