6 Forward-Thinking Online Fundraising Strategies

  • 6 Forward-Thinking Online Fundraising Strategies

Today, we’re featuring a post from Adam Weinger, President at Double the Donation, a company which helps organizations raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs.


Online fundraising is booming. Current and older generations alike are using online donation avenues to give to their favorite organizations.

While you may already be accepting online donations, there are still ways you can amp up your online fundraising and encourage even more donors to start giving online.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your online fundraising, you’re in luck! We have six forward-thinking strategies to help you out.

  1. Offer text-to-give to your donors.
  2. Create a crowdfunding campaign.
  3. Optimize online donation forms.
  4. Promote matching gifts.
  5. Get serious about payment security.
  6. Enlist some help.

If you’re looking for other fundraising ideas, Double the Donation has a helpful guide.

offer text-to-give

Strategy #1: Offer text-to-give to your donors.

If you’re not already using text-to-give, what are you waiting for! Text-to-give (or text-to-tithe for churches) is a convenient way for your supporters to give using their mobile phones.

Here’s how the process usually goes:

  1. The donor texts a donation amount to your nonprofit’s text-to-give number.
  2. A link to where they can complete the donation process is sent to the donor via text.
  3. To complete the process, the donor fills out their payment information and confirms their gift.

Of course, different software providers may have a slightly different method, so look for a provider that has a simple process for accepting donations via text message.

Text-to-give is often promoted during live events because it’s an easy way for supporters to give, and most supporters will have their phones with them. However, this mobile giving channel can be used in other situations as well.

Giving via text message works because it’s a channel that an incorporated into many different types of fundraising.

Additionally you can promote text-to-give through different ways, such as:

  • On your social media accounts.
  • When you send out appeals via email or direct mail.
  • During your online crowdfunding or peer-to-peer campaigns.

However you decided to promote text-to-give, just be sure to explain the process to your supporters so that they know how easy it is to give using this channel.

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The takeaway: Text-to-give is a convenient way for donors to support your nonprofit and can be used in conjunction with your other fundraising efforts.

create a crowdfunding campaign

Strategy #2: Create a Crowdfunding Campaign

Crowdfunding, sometimes called peer-to-peer fundraising, is an effective (and efficient!) way to raise funds and potentially gain new supporters.  

If you are not already familiar with the term, crowdfunding is an online fundraising campaign where your nonprofit creates a page to raise funds for your nonprofit.

Your nonprofit will set a specific goal for the amount you want to raise. You’ll share that goal with your supporters in the hopes that they will contribute and/or share your campaign with their network of friends and family.

The more people that see your campaign, the better chance you have of reaching or even exceeding your goals. That’s why it’s important to find a crowdfunding platform that makes it easy to write your story and share it with the world.

Here’s an example of what a good crowdfunding page looks like:

crowdfunding example

As you can see from the example, The Indiana University Foundation has included a few elements that really make this campaign work, such as:

  • Social sharing buttons located in prominent locations.
  • An image and a story explaining the reason for their campaign.
  • A clear visual of their goal and how much they’ve raised.

All these elements come together to create a campaign that is shareable and explains your cause in a way that encourages donors to give.

In order to create a campaign with these features, you need to find the right platform for your needs. If you’re unsure about what platform to use, check out this helpful guide.

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The takeaway: Creating a crowdfunding campaign can be a great way to raise funds online. Plus, you can gain new supporters in the process.

optimize online donation forms

Strategy #3: Optimize your online donation forms

If you’re doing any online fundraising, you’re probably already using online donation forms. Have you thought about optimizing your forms to make the process easy for your donors and help you raise even more funds?

In fact, most donation forms aren’t optimized for your donors’ convenience, which causes 60% of donors to abandon the form before making a gift. That’s a lot of missed funds!

Luckily, there are some online donation form best practices that you can use to improve your giving process. We’ll go over two tips you can use to make your donation forms more convenient and help you raise more contributions:

A. Limit the number of steps in your donation form.

Have you ever started to make an online purchase and then stopped because there were too many fields to fill out before you could confirm your item? The same thing happens to your supporters when you ask them too many questions on your giving form.

While it’s tempting to include a lot of questions to gain more information on your donors, you don’t want to risk losing their support by making the form too long. A good rule of thumb is to keep your donation forms to one page and only include necessary information (donor name, email address and payment details).

B. Use preset donation buttons on your form.

Sometimes donors don’t know how much to give to your nonprofit. When you provide them with a few suggestions, you’re helping them know how much is a good amount to give.

Additionally, when you offer your donors suggested giving amounts, you can potentially increase your average donation amount. Supporters typically give more when they have donation buttons. Your supporters will think that everyone is using the buttons and infer that the suggested amounts are the appropriate gift size.

If you do use preset donation buttons, just be sure to include a few high and low options so that everyone feels that there is a gift amount that’s right for them.

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The takeaway: Improving your online donation forms can help make the giving process easier for donors and potentially increase the funds your raise.

promote matching gifts

Strategy #4: Promote matching gifts to your supporters.

You are probably aware of how valuable matching gift programs can be for your organization. They can help your nonprofit double (or even triple!) your online donations.

A matching gift program is where companies will match their employees’ gifts to nonprofits. All the donor has to do is submit a request. Once the company verifies that a gift has been made, they will donation the nonprofit the same amount (or sometimes more!) that the donor gave.

However, matching gifts aren’t used often because many donors don’t know their company has a program or how to submit a request.

By not educating and reminding donors about matching gifts, you could be missing out on a lot of potential donations!

Here’s how you can educate donors about matching gifts:

  • Create a page dedicated to matched giving. It will be the place donors can refer to when they have questions.
  • Include information about matching gifts when you solicit donations. Also include information in your acknowledgment letters after a donor has contributed.
  • During the donation process, include a way for donors to search for their company’s matching gift program.

Consistently reminding donors about matchings gifts can seem like a very involved process. That’s where matching gift services come in! These services help make the process easier for you and your donors.

If you’re not familiar with matching gift services, here are few features you can expect:

  • An embedded search tool where donors can search for their company’s program on your matching gift page (or any page you’d like!).
  • Automated email reminders with details about matching gifts. If donors use their company email or search for their company’s matching gift program during the donation process, they will be sent specific details about their company’s program.
  • Donation forms that include a search tool so that donors can find their program during the giving process.

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The takeaway: While you may be familiar with matching gifts, it’s up to your nonprofit to make sure that your donors are aware, too. That way, they’ll be more knowledgeable on how to make a request after they contribute.

get serious about payment security

Strategy #5: Get serious about online payment security

Payment processing isn’t something that most nonprofits, let alone donors, understand, but it’s an important step in the online donation process. In fact, many donors are hesitant about making online donations because they are worried about security.

You can put your donors’ concerns at ease by making sure that your online donation forms are secure. A protected donation form not only benefits the donor, but it also helps your nonprofit stay safe as well.

Your nonprofit can avoid credit card fraud, which can save your nonprofit from having to make chargeback fees. You’ll pay a chargeback fee to the the credit card company to process the refund to the victim.

How to find a secure way to accept online donations:

Before you start searching for a payment processor, it’s important to be familiar with the payment process. Being knowledgeable about the process will help you know what to look for when you find a payment processor.

You should look for a payment processor that:

  • Is PCI-compliant – This means that they follow a strict set of rules created by the Payment Card Industry to make sure that your donors’ information is protected.
  • Offers other levels of protection like tokenization – Tokenization is a process where sensitive information is transformed into a series of numbers and symbols called a token. The token can only be deciphered by the payment processor so that no one else can take your donors’ payment information.
  • Provides fraud protection to keep your nonprofit secure –Work with a processor that can help you detect fraud and other scams so that you receive donations from actual supporters.

Even though payment processing happens behind the scenes, it’s still important to let your donors know that your donation forms are secure.

Include the name and logo of your payment processor on your donation forms so that donors will feel more comfortable using your online donation channels.

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The takeaway: Payment processing is an important part of the donation process. Make sure that your donation forms are protected so that donors won’t be hesitant about giving.

Enlist some help

Strategy #6: Enlist the help of a fundraising consultant firm.

If you’re not familiar with fundraising consultants, they can help your nonprofit with all things relating to fundraising.

A fundraising consultant can help you figure out different ways promote your fundraising events or help you come up with new ideas.

What can a fundraising consultant do for your nonprofit?

Before you can decide whether a fundraising consultant is the right choice for your nonprofit, you should know what they can do.

A fundraising consultant can help you:

  • Plan a fundraising strategy.
  • Motivate and educate your nonprofit staff.
  • Research your donors’ giving behaviors.
  • Offer new fundraising ideas.
  • Suggest fundraising software.
  • And so much more!

Your consultant (if you hire one) will be your guide and help you figure out the best plan for your online fundraising. Your nonprofit can decide what suggestions you want to implement and move forward with.

If you’re struggling how to raise funds, you should consider hiring a fundraising consultant to help you.

The takeaway: A fundraising consultant can be a great guide to help improve your fundraising strategy and hopefully help you raise more funds.

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Now that you’ve learned six online fundraising strategies, you’re ready to start implementing some of these tips into your own fundraising.

With these tips, you can encourage donors to give more and make the process easier for them.

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Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.

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2017-01-03T22:36:10-04:00January 3rd, 2017|