4 Ways Nonprofits Can Crush Online Fundraising Challenges

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Today's post is a guest post from our friends over at DonorSearch, who are frequent contributors to the Accelevents blog. Online fundraising is an excellent strategy for nonprofits. After all, it’s exponentially cheaper to receive online donations than it is to plan, host, and manage a full-scale fundraising event. Your nonprofit should be equipped with an array of digital tools to help you overcome any fundraising challenge you face.Having effective online fundraising methods greatly benefits your nonprofit. Not only are they cost-effective, but they are also always available to the donor. The internet doesn’t sleep, and neither will your online fundraising campaigns! Using online fundraising tools gives your donors access to your cause from any device, allowing them to donate anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, you can capture custom data from your donors through your online donation forms, helping you enhance your donor management system. With an efficient and effective online fundraising campaign, you should be able to see the results of your nonprofit’s increased visibility and your community’s heightened awareness of your organization.While the advantages of mobile fundraising and online donations are endless, you still may sometimes meet fundraising challenges.

What happens when you hit a roadblock in your online fundraising campaign? In this post, we’ll share with you the 4 best ways you can bypass any online fundraising struggle in order to engage your donors and raise more money than ever!As you plan and execute your online fundraising campaign, the four best ways to proactively manage any unforeseen challenges will be to:

  • Know your donors.
  • Optimize your fundraising website.
  • Offer incentives.
  • Maximize your donor network.

Let’s dive in and get you ready to face any problem online fundraising throws at you.

Method number one to conquer your fundraising challenges is to know your donors

Know your donors.

Your relationships with your donors are the foundation on which effective fundraising is built. In order to plan and effectively reach your fundraising goals, you must have a deep knowledge of those who donate to your organization.In order to better know your donor base, you must first establish a basic understanding of your donor demographics. Consider acquiring information on:

  • Age
  • Location
  • History, frequency and amount of donations
  • Profession/Employer

These general facts will provide you with an understanding of your donor network.And in order to more effectively leverage donors data, we’d recommend using a donoranalytics guide for a comprehensive understanding of how to utilize donor data to your advantage.Every scrap of data you collect on your donors should point to their affinity for your nonprofit’s cause and their ability to donate financially to your organization. Wealth screening and an in-depth understanding of your donors’ philanthropic history will put you in the best possible position to make effective strategy decisions. Remember, 80% of funds donated to your organization come from 20% of your donors! Understanding wealth indicators in your donor data will help you know which relationships you should be stewarding for major gifts. These gifts can help you rise out of a fundraising slump and boost your fundraising capacity. You should analyze your donors’:

  • Real estate ownership. Individuals who own over $2 million in real estate investments are historically more likely to donate to nonprofits.
  • Business affiliation. Business connections will illuminate an individual’s net worth as well as indicate potential relationships that can be leveraged for more major gifts.
  • Stock ownership. Identify individuals who are officers or directors of public companies or who own more than 5% of shares in a company. This will provide an estimated net worth which will help you determine how much to ask them for.

Of course, you must also remember that wealth does not necessarily indicate the individual will be inclined to give charitably. Philanthropic indicators will give you the best insight into your donors. Look for:

  • Past giving. A person’s giving history is the best indicator of their likelihood to donate or continue donating to your organization. Look at their rate of giving, how much they give, and when they last donated.
  • Relationship to your cause. Find out how passionate the donor is about your cause based on their giving history to similar organizations. This will help gauge their potential loyalty and gift size.
  • Political giving. Individuals who donate more than $15,000 to a campaign are equally likely to be a major gift donor to a nonprofit organization. The FEC keeps a public, searchable record of all campaign contributions.

Once you have gathered this information, you will truly know your donor network inside and out. You will be able to accurately assess your donor network and plan how to appeal online to these donors.To read more about how tech can be the solution to managing and understanding your donor data, click here.

method number two to crush your online fundraising challenges is to optimize your website

2. Optimize your website.

Your website is the front line for online donations and needs to be perfectly designed to encourage and engage online donors. There are a number of ways you can do this, but some of our favorites include:

Clearly labeled navigational tools

It is far too easy to turn your website into a labyrinth that your users easily get lost in. You should have clearly labeled navigational tools in the running header and footer that will assist your site visitors in finding any resource they may need.

Seamless online donation tools

There should not be a single moment in the donation process where your donor feels discouraged from donating. They should never question the safety of their confidential information, or get annoyed by the speed or efficiency of the donation process.Incorporate a donation tool into your website that:

  • Is user-friendly.
  • Will maintain forms that are visually branded to your nonprofit.
  • Accepts all forms of online payment.
  • Is PCI-compliant.

To see a list of top online donation tools, check out this list.

Outlined donation and volunteer opportunities

We also suggest providing your site visitors with information about the various ways they can be involved in your organization. Not all individuals will want to engage with your organization in the same way. Provide information on how they can:

Your site’s visitors will be grateful for the information and will be more likely to take advantage of one of the underutilized methods of involvement.Your website should be perfectly designed to facilitate a donor’s swift and easy donation to your organization. With the right tools and formatting ensuring your online donations run smoothly, your organization could see a drastic boost in revenue from online donations.

Method number three to crush your online fundraising challenges is to offer incentives

3. Offer incentives.

Organizing the perfect fundraiser can certainly be difficult, and it is easy to overlook opportunities that would be quite beneficial for your organization. Don’t shy away from offering incentives to your donors. Your donors are helping to support your mission and they deserve to feel appreciated. Incentives will likely prompt your donors to donate more and more frequently.Incentives can come in many different forms, and your organization should find what works best for your donor base. It never hurts to do a regular donor spotlight, whether this occurs weekly, monthly, or quarterly. You can either send out an email newsletter thanking donors and telling them what they have accomplished in a given period. You can also have a web page dedicated to highlighting the contribution of donors— many people want the recognition for their good actions that this would offer. But don’t let the incentives stop there! It may be useful to give your donors a tangible gift or experience in return for their donation. Try setting a donation threshold that, when met, qualifies the donor to participate in a fundraising gala that thanks them for their gift and provides them with the opportunity to further engage with your organization. For smaller donations, you can easily offer branded merchandise as a donation incentive. This could be in the form of a t-shirt, hat, water bottle, or wristband. These incentives not only provide the donor with a material reward but also increase the visibility of your brand. Promote these incentives heavily on your website and throughout your donation page to ensure every donor knows what possible rewards they could receive for donating various amounts to your nonprofit. It is easy to make incentives seem incredibly appealing using dynamic multimedia resources on your website.

Method number four to crush your online fundraising challenges is to maximize your network

4. Maximize your donor network

Your donors are one of your most valuable resources for increasing your online presence. You may be wondering: what can my donors do that I can’t?Donors have the ability to raise awareness and funds for your organization through peer-to-peer fundraising.Peer-to-peer fundraising is a type of crowdfunding where your supporters can promote your organization and use their relationships and connections to garner funds for your organization.The process of peer-to-peer fundraising is simple, quick, and effective. Your supporters can easily reach out to like-minded people who they know would support your cause. I am sure you can attest to the fact that it can be difficult to identify individuals who have an affinity for your cause. But with peer-to-peer fundraising, your supporters do the work for you and quickly boost your revenue.Make sure you promote peer-to-peer fundraising as an option on your site. You should have social media sharing buttons on the donate page as well as an integration with a peer-to-peer fundraising platform.

The proper implementation of peer-to-peer fundraising will help you maximize your donor network and increase your web presence!


Online fundraising offers up its own set of challenges for every nonprofit. However, if you know your donors and are equipped with the right tools, you will easily be able to overcome any obstacle thrown at you. Click here for more creative fundraising ideas!

Sarah Tedesco is the Executive Vice President of DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy.

Sarah Tedesco is the Executive Vice President of DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy. Sarah is responsible for managing the production and customer support department concerning client contract fulfillment, increasing retention rate and customer satisfaction. She collaborates with other team members on a variety of issues including sales, marketing and product development ideas.

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