Digital Fundraising: how to elevate donations in 2024

Feb 28, 2024
Sage Avarda
Content Marketing Manager

Direct mail campaigns, silent auctions, and annual galas are still relevant strategies for fundraising. But the costs and planning behind these initiatives can be prohibitive. Increasingly, forward-thinking nonprofits are recognizing that digital fundraising offers some major advantages over in-person events or direct mail.

This post dives into how nonprofits can explore the benefits of digital fundraising, including how to structure campaigns and best practices for online fundraising. Read on to learn about technology that allows organizations to quickly implement digital fundraising initiatives.

Digital fundraising for nonprofits: key benefits

Nonprofits can benefit from digital fundraising in several ways. Most notably, digital fundraising improves scalability and supports these “wish list” items for nonprofits:

Greater reach

Digital fundraising helps organizations reach a lot more people — without the need for a massive marketing team. Most digital fundraising platforms offer user-friendly automation that makes it easy to create digital ads that drive people to campaign pages, connect with new followers on social media, and build out email lists to strengthen ongoing engagement.

With a greater reach, and software that enables global currency support, nonprofits could connect with digital donors in other parts of the world.

Lower costs

The cost of an in-person fundraising event can be up to 75 cents of every dollar raised, and direct-mail campaigns are costly, too. With digital fundraising, there are no banquet facility rentals, no caterers to pay, and no printing costs.

Better engagement

Using digital channels for fundraising gives organizations an opportunity for real-time engagement. For example, nonprofits can share content on their social channels, immediately respond to comments and mentions, and publicly acknowledge donors.

Personalized donation requests

Digital fundraising that incorporates AI and machine learning can take the guesswork out of knowing whom to ask for donations and when. Using personalized requests can boost first-time donations, recurring donations, and average donation amount.

The 4 steps in a digital fundraising campaign

Digital fundraising for nonprofits generally follows four steps:

  1. Attract

    This first step is all about creating, publishing, and promoting content, whether that’s digital ads, social posts, or case studies. Content doesn’t need to be unique for every channel. For example, an excerpt from a case study could be a social post, or a photo from a case study could be the basis of a paid ad.

  2. Nurture

    At the nurture stage, nonprofits focus on growing new relationships with the goal of driving conversions. This is where data is critical — organizations need to track how people are interacting with content and what seems to capture their attention. For some people, emails might be the medium that spurs them to donate, whereas other donors may be more moved by social posts.

  3. Convert

    Nonprofits can’t afford to wait for people to organically convert, and that’s why this third step is so important. At this point, organizations should actively ask for donations. With AI, nonprofits can customize ask amounts and even turn one-time contributions into recurring donations.

  4. Retain

    The “retain” stage is a lot easier when donors are on a recurring donation plan. With one-time donors, retention is a matter of knowing when to ask for a subsequent donation, and when. (This is again another great use case for AI). Retention also relies heavily on a nonprofit continuing to share its stories with donors and thanking them promptly for donations.

How do nonprofits master digital fundraising?

Nonprofits that succeed at connecting with donors and digitally boosting conversions tend to prioritize the following initiatives.

Leveraging audience segmentation

Treating all donors as a single entity isn’t the best way to get donations. Segmenting donors by specific characteristics is a better strategy for succeeding at digital fundraising.

Segmentation can start with a review of existing and potential donors and digging into their similarities, and there are a number of ways organizations might want to sort donors and donations, such as:

  • average annual donation amount
  • private or corporate donors
  • demographics
  • location
  • donation methods (debit card, cryptocurrency, etc.)
  • preferred digital channels
  • length of engagement (long-time donors vs. new donors)
  • number of touchpoints in the donor nurturing phase

By segmenting donors, nonprofits can develop highly targeted and relevant content that appeals to each audience.

Harnessing the power of peer-to-peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising is a powerful digital tool that lets donors create, share, and manage their own fundraisers. This initiative requires almost no admin time other than the initial copying and pasting of code to set up a P2P integration.

Ensuring seamless multi-channel communication

Donors may interact with a nonprofit across several channels: email, SMS, and social, for example. Managing all of these channels separately is time-consuming and fails to provide a cohesive experience for donors. With digital fundraising software, nonprofits can offer a frictionless giving experience and ensure continuity of communication across channels.

Displaying social proof

Social proof is a great way to nudge potential donors toward conversion, and it’s another feature that’s easy to implement with copy-and-paste code.

Enabling global donations

Nonprofits can expand their donor base by offering responsive, multilingual website experiences and enabling global currencies.

The fastest path to digital fundraising

Digital fundraising may seem like a complex initiative, but with the right software platform, nonprofits can put their digital campaigns into motion with minimal resources.

Fundraise Up is the user-friendly, all-in-one online fundraising solution for nonprofits. Organizations can count on Fundraise Up for scalability, security, and transparent contract-free pricing. Explore the new standard for online giving.

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