10 Online Fundraising Best Practices for Nonprofits

The technology to donate online was launched in the late 1990’s and through a process of trial and error NGOs have slowly been able to build donor’s confidence in the technology and grow their online donor database. Today online donations make up an average of 7-10% of an NGO’s annual budget and online giving continues to grow – and will continue grow – every year. Now more than ever it’s crucial that your NGO knows the basics of a successful online fundraising campaign and has knowledge of emerging online fundraising trends in order to prepare for the future.

The webinar content below was presented by Heather Mansfield on October 11, 2016 to 1,807 nonprofit staff. It was the final presentation of the online fundraising best practices webinar. To register for future free webinars, please see the Nonprofit Tech for Good Webinar Schedule.

1. Know online fundraising trends.

  • In 2015 online giving grew 9% while overall giving grew 2%. Small and medium-sized NGOs are experiencing the largest growth in online giving. The average online gift in 2015 was $110.

  • Online giving only accounts for 8-9% of all giving, but it is growing steadily each year.

  • Donors of all generations are shifting to online giving, but Gen X is most likely to give online. They are also the generation that volunteers the most. NGOs should pay more attention to Gen X donors who donate an average of $465 annually.

2. Use a premium donation service.

  • To maximize online donations, your donation service should offer donation pages that have: 1) the design and branding of your nonprofit’s website; 2) are mobile-compatible; and 3) offer tribute and monthly giving options.

  • Others options: crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising, event registration and ticketing, database integration, advocacy, and online stores.

  • Services: Classy, SoapBox, Network for Good, 100+ Donation Services, Donation Services in the U.K., Ammado for Small NGOs

3. Prominently feature your “Donate” button.

  • Place a large, colorful “Donate” button on every page. The button color should pop out from the site’s basic color scheme.

  • The “Donate” button should always link directly to a donate form – never to a web page that lists multiple ways to give.

4. Optimize your “Thank You” process.

  • Odds are your nonprofit needs to redesign your “Thank You” landing page and “Thank You” emails.

5. Create social media graphics.

  • Millennials are most inspired to give by social media. Gen X and Baby Boomers by email.

  • Create social media graphics for special fundraising campaigns and year-end fundraising campaigns.

  • Create #GivingTuesday graphics.

  • Create powerful stat and inspirational quote graphics.

  • Use Canva to easily create social media graphics.

6. Launch a monthly giving campaign.

  • Launch a monthly giving campaign to allow supporters to make monthly donations automatically. Monthly donors give 42% more in one year than one-time donors and give an average of $52 per month ($624 per year).

  • Thank monthly donors and show impact a minimum of three times annually and promote your program on your website and blog (300×250), in email (600×200), on social media (800×800), and in print materials (website.org/givemonthly).

7. Launch a tribute giving campaign.

  • Enable the ability for donor’s to make tribute gifts in honor of a family member or friend.

  • Again, promote your tribute giving program on your website and blog, in email, on social media, and in print materials (website.ngo/tributegifts).

8. Launch a crowdfunding campaign.

  • Crowdfunding enables nonprofits to create online fundraising campaigns for projects and programs in need of funding: New Website for Gray Wolf Press, Build a Wildlife Fence Campaign, Read On Book Drive

  • On average, crowdfunding services charge 8%.

  • And of course, promote your tribute giving program on your website and blog, in email, on social media and in print materials (website.org/raisethebarn).

9. Participate in giving days.

  • Build online fundraising campaigns around cause awareness and giving days.

  • Create a web page that features the date, hashtag, and lists at least three actions that your supporters can take. Begin promoting via email (600×200) and on social media (800×800) one month before.

  • Be very active throughout the day on social media. Promote powerful stats, inspirational quotes, and ask people to give.

10. Embrace new fundraising tools.

  • Digital and in-app payments will transform online fundraising. Be an early adopter!

  • Sign up for Google for Nonprofits and Facebook Fundraisers – and watch for developments with Apply Pay, Android Pay, and Twitter $Cashtags.

  • Mobile giving apps will eventually go mainstream.

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