Over the last decade, online fundraising has transformed. As a nonprofit fundraiser, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a constant game of catch-up.
What are the top ways to give online? Should my nonprofit invest in text-to-give tools? How can I keep my online donors engaged?
Creating an online fundraising strategy for your nonprofit used to be considered “nice to have, but not mission critical.” Today, online fundraising is a core part of any nonprofit development plan—a trend that is only likely to grow.
So, in this article, we’ll help you cut through the reams of online fundraising advice out there and get down to basics.
Different Ways of Giving Online
When it comes to online fundraising, the most important thing is to make donating as easy as possible.
To do this, you need a clear and compelling call to action and user-friendly donation tools. Some trends to consider:
- Donate Buttons: The “Donate Now” button is a mainstay of modern nonprofit websites and email newsletters. But before launching your next online fundraising campaign, consider testing different language to increase the number of people who click that donation link. For example, can you be more specific about what a donation will achieve and why it is timely? You can also experiment with things like colors, formatting, and different types of links (buttons vs in-text).
- Digital Wallets: Do you use Google Pay, Apple Pay, or PayPal when purchasing or donating online? These tools are called digital wallets—and 65% of US adults use them regularly. Research on digital wallets and fundraising shows that enabling these tools as part of your online giving platform can increase donation amounts and lead to more recurring donations.
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: In peer-to-peer fundraising, existing supporters ask their friends, family, and broader networks to join them in supporting your organization. A variety of online giving platforms can help you run peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. If you’re just getting started with peer-to-peer fundraising, Facebook fundraisers remain popular and easy to set up.
- Text-to-Donate: Text-to-give or text-to-donate platforms leverage the power of text messaging to facilitate online donations. With texting, you can connect with your supporters even faster than through email, with a streamlined giving process. Most online giving platforms today enable you to set up text-to-donate tools, though it will take a bit of work and you’ll want to have a plan to engage these donors beyond a single gift.
- Mobile Giving at In-Person Events: Mobile giving doesn’t only happen online. If you’re hosting a community or fundraising event in person, consider how to make it as easy as possible for attendees to donate. Just like how you “tap to pay” at the grocery store, setting up mobile kiosks or card readers at events can make donating seamless.
Sustaining Donors Are Gold
Even with all the new trends and tools in online giving, many fundraising fundamentals are unchanged.
Nonprofits still need to focus on donor retention.
The average donor retention rate is around 45%, but that includes long-time donors. When it comes to brand-new donors, less than 20% of new donors will make a second donation.
But one giving trend that leverages technology and sustainability is monthly giving. Sustaining or recurring donors—those who sign up to make an ongoing monthly contribution to your organization—are critical.
Data shows that monthly giving is on the rise, making up 28% of online donations. This means more people are familiar with the concept of becoming a monthly sustaining donor. Even if monthly gifts are smaller, recurring donors boost your fundraising bottom line by giving, on average, 30% more than their single-gift counterparts.
These recurring donors bring more than just dollars though. According to research on recurring donors:
84% of recurring donors take further action to support organizations they donate to, such as volunteering (45%), making additional donations (42%), attending events (35%), telling friends to donate (30%), sharing organization updates or campaigns on social media (28%), or fundraising on behalf of the organization (26%).
So, if you are debating which online giving trends to jump on, the data supports putting recurring donations at the top of your list.
Donor Cultivation Fundamentals Matter More Than Ever
Finally, when it comes to keeping and engaging your donors (especially those recurring donors!), it’s impossible to overstate the importance of communication.
Donors don’t only want to hear from you when you’re asking for money. Research on individual donor sentiment shows that:
- 38% of donors report they would love to hear from organizations more often.
- 73% of donors like to understand the exact impact their donations make on an organization.
- 53% of donors like the opportunity to connect with those who benefit from their donations.
If you’ve ever worried that donors are getting tired of hearing about your impact, it’s time to put that concern to rest.