Putting digital at the heart of your fundraising strategy

With its scope to reach new and broader audiences in creative ways, digital fundraising has always been at the heart of effective fundraising strategies.

Now with the pandemic putting traditional methods on hold, digital fundraising has offered a lifeline for many charities. Read on to find out what the basic principles of digital fundraising are, and how to master them to pull in those all-important online donations.

Get your donation journey in order

The first step to effective digital fundraising is creating a seamless online donation journey.

Unfortunately, too many charities make their online donation process unnecessarily complicated. Donors should be able to find your donation page easily and submit their donation without having to log in or create an account.

One way to do this is by embedding your donation form directly on your website homepage or campaign landing page, with a clear ‘Donate now’ button. This way, donors can remain on your website without having to click a link which takes them to a third party donation platform.

Demonstrate your impact

There is nothing more powerful for your donor than seeing their gift make a tangible difference. This is even more so at the point of donating. Many online donation forms, including CAF Donate, allow you to put together a selection of fixed donation amounts, which display the potential impact that could be achieved if that sum was donated.

Make more than one ask

An effective way of increasing donations is to have more than one online appeal or fundraising campaign live on your website at the same time. Some donors might be more interested in donating to one project over another. Each one should be linked to the specific impacts that the donations will make.

Another advantage of regularly launching online appeals is that they provide new reasons for supporters to give, with the possibility of linking each new appeal journey you create to a fresh marketing campaign. For instance, many of our CAF Donate charities set up new appeals specifically for Giving Tuesday.

What is CAF Donate? 

CAF Donate is our GDPR compliant, safe and secure online donations platform. Providing donors the options to make one-off and regular donations with Gift Aid through various payment methods, the customisable donation form tailors itself to your charity's branding, and seamlessly integrates into your charity's website.

Learn more about CAF Donate

Capture attention with compelling content

Now that you’ve got your website and online donation journey in order, it’s time to think about creating compelling digital content to pull in the donations. This should be framed around your fundraising goals and tailored to the distribution channel.

From text-based content like blogs and articles, to visual content like infographics, videos and GIFs, digital content should be framed around your fundraising goals and tailored to the channel or platform on which you want to share it through.

Planning what content you want to create ahead of your fundraising campaigns means you can schedule these in advance, freeing up time to engage your supporters and jump in real-time conversations.

Matt Collins of Platypus Digital shares his top tips on how to build a digital content calendar like a pro.

Remember to track the performance of your content to know what is resonating with your audience, and use those insights to create similar content. All social media platforms have their own platform analytics so you can see which content has been liked, shared and engaged with the most.

Get your message in front of the right people

Whether it is social media, a digital ad or email, choosing the appropriate distribution channel for your content is crucial to getting your message to the right donors to raise online donations.

You must first decide who is most likely to donate to or support your cause, what message would resonate with them, and which on channels you can reach them best. Your existing donor base is a good starting point for this, and some of the ways you can segment donors is by:

1. How often they donate

Frequent donors are engaged with your cause, so you may think about subscribing them to a monthly newsletter. Donors that donate every Christmas, for example, may need a little encouragement to give throughout the year by showcasing the impact they could make. Case studies and testimonials from beneficiaries can be a great way to do this.

2. How recently they have donated

A recent donor is highly engaged and more likely to donate again than those who haven’t done so in a while. You may want to reach out to these donors first when launching a new campaign or appeal.

3. How much donors donate

A high value donor is more likely to want to know if and how their gift is making a difference. Video content, reports and graphs may be the content that resonates with this group of donors the best.

Your email database of donors and volunteers is another great source to tap into to get a broader understanding of your donors. Here’s a great guide from Whole Whale on 7 easy ways to segment your email lists.

Now that you’ve identified who your donors are, how to speak to them and where to find them, it’s time to put together a plan of action on how you will use each digital channel to achieve your fundraising goals. Learn more about using social media for fundraising