Online Fundraising – the 5 biggest stumbling blocks
betterplace.org has now been around for over 10 years. In that time, we’ve gained a lot of experience. We’ve provided one to one consultation to around 500 different organizations and societies, we’ll soon have registered 50,000 projects and we’ve run countless workshops and answered hundreds of thousands of questions about online fundraising. While doing all that we keep noticing the same old stumbling blocks – all them easy to trip over in the heat of the moment, even when you start out with the best intentions. That may not necessarily be so bad, but if you know what to avoid in life it can make things a little bit easier. And that’s why, we’ve decided to put together for you some of the stuff we’ve learned.
In online fundraising it’s better not to …
1. … better not only to ask for money
„It’s all ‘bout the money, money, money“! Luckily not everything depends on money, and the same is true in online fundraising.
People donate to organizations that matter to them and whose projects they think are worth supporting, rather than to those that merely ask for donations. That means it’s important to get your donors involved in what you’re doing. Don’t just keep asking them for money but involve them in your work. For example, why not combine your latest funding appeal with news about the project? Spread the word about your successes and tell your donors what you’ve been able to achieve through their donations. That way you’ll create transparency and trust – both essential requirements when encouraging people to donate.
You could, for example, come up with the type of online fundraising campaign that really gets your donors involved in your society’s activities. Success stories, thank-you messages and updates are an important part of this. And the great thing is that you can do it all at betterplace.org.
More information: What’s the best way to say thank you to my donors?
2. … better not to put all your eggs in one basket
In order to get a successful campaign going, it’s not sufficient to address your donors via a single channel. A project page on betterplace.org won’t suddenly bring loads of donations flooding in. There are almost 25,000 projects registered at betterplace.org. That means you’ll need to do some of the promotion yourself.
There are many ways to reach your donors. These days, it’s become essential to have an active social media profile. Fundraising appeals are also still a good way of getting people interested in your project. But the key point is that you know your donors best – such as whether they like to be contacted online or prefer to receive a letter. Not forgetting of course that with the second of those two options you’ll also incur carriage costs; something you’ll save on if you use email. Do you know the people who really like your project and are prepared to do more than “just” donate? Then ask some of them if they might consider starting a (donations, instead of presents) fundraising campaign on their birthday. betterplace.org even has simple solutions for that kind of campaign.
You’ll find more information on fundraising campaigns here!
3. … better not to hide the donations button on your homepage
It may sound obvious, but our experience shows that many organizations don’t have a clearly visible „Donate now!“ button on their website.
If people want to donate, they shouldn’t have to spend time looking.
Don’t hesitate to say in no uncertain terms that you need support and make sure you add a clearly visible donate option to your homepage. It’s absolutely OK to do so, because without money you won’t be able to do any valuable work.
4. … better to avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
Every day we see projects registered at betterplace.org that have project descriptions containing spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. We know of course that the actual work being done with young people or the provision of medical treatment in crisis regions is more important than perfect spelling and grammar. And anyway, who’s got time to proofread everything three times? Yet, despite all of that, texts dotted with errors look unprofessional and are less likely to be taken seriously. That stops people donating! So, here’s our tip: copy the relevant text into a Word document (or a similar programme with a spell and grammar check) and check to see if you’ve missed any errors. Alternatively, it’s worth getting an external person to proofread the text.
5. … better not to forget the donor after they’ve donated
Many people think everything’s done and dusted once a donation has been paid into your account. Wrong! It’s now that your work as a successful fundraiser really starts! Many donors who’ve donated to a project are very likely to do so a second time – provided they stay in touch with the project and are kept informed of its progress, new developments and successes. Knowing how to say thank you for a donation is an essential part of maintaining the relationship between you and your donors. Use email, Facebook or blogs to keep your donors up to date and contact them at key times of the year (Christmas, your organization’s birthday etc., etc.). It’s not always necessary to make a direct appeal for donations.
As you can see there are a wide variety of elements that go towards running a successful fundraising campaign.
We hope that these tips have helped you a bit.
If you have any other questions just send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give us a call on 030-56 83 86 59 – we’re always happy to help!