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The two most common queries I hear from nonprofits are how to increase brand awareness and how to raise more funds online — challenging efforts that are compounded by the fact that most organizations have limited resources and are risk-averse. So, how do we tackle this dilemma? Put simply, the need is to invest in simple solutions that garner big results year-round.
1. Dive into data
We’re often so consumed with daily tasks (the next meeting or how to respond to that email) that we forget to slow down and assess what’s currently working and what’s not.
At the end of 2021, I worked with a nonprofit on a comprehensive digital audit of its organization, with a resulting report that looked into their owned social channels, Facebook Ads Manager, donations on Facebook, Google Analytics and more. During my analysis of their Google Analytics account, I discovered 61% of their traffic came from mobile, yet only 14% of online donations were completed. Upon further review, it was clear that the mobile user experience of donating was difficult — the potential donor had to click through several pages before being given the option to give. This one nugget of information from the digital audit equaled six figures in potential donations.
2. Stay top-of-mind
Most of the clients I’ve worked with have set months or campaigns in which they ramp up all communications for making an ask, but what about the periods in between? How do you stay relevant in an ongoing way — continue to show that you’re a leading expert in your cause area? My answer: Facebook and Instagram Ads.
Social ads are a powerful and low-cost way to consistently stay top-of-mind with supporters. How? By running content to reach your warm audience. For example, in my business I focus on teaching nonprofits the latest digital marketing trends and tools. I have articles and videos in which I share informative and entertaining content that makes me more credible. For $5 per day or less, I can run those specific organic content pieces as a Facebook and Instagram Reach Campaign to my warm audience — people who have visited my website, engaged with one of my social media channels or subscribed to my email list. The goal of such a campaign is to remain present with your supporters while providing value.
3. Remove friction
When’s the last time you reviewed your online donation experience? If it’s been a while, now is a great time for a quick review. Here’s a mini-audit exercise to help point out where the friction might be:
• Set a timer and ask a friend or family member to go through your giving process on mobile, and another person on desktop
• Watch how many buttons they click
• Do they struggle during any part of the process?
• How long did it take to complete the donation form?
• Did they have body language movement (sighs, shrugs) and/or get distracted?
• What happened after they gave?
If this process felt long to you, it’s likely that it felt even longer to them. Get their feedback and see where there might be ways to cut down on time and steps.
There’s been tremendous innovation when it comes to online donation forms. Two of my top recommendations are Fundraise Up and Funraise — both focus on a truly mobile-optimized experience and allow organizations to customize the process.
4. Don’t miss out on billions
According to Double the Donation, 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs, with over 26 million individuals working for those companies. What’s shocking is that these amounts are measured in the billions — $4 to $7 billion in matching gift funds that go unclaimed every year.
In a remedy that aligns directly with step 3 above, Double the Donation has partnered with nearly every online donation platform to have its tool integrated seamlessly, for matching to take place right as your donor is making their gift.
Think about this from the donor experience. Say I have the desire to give $50 personally, and then am given the option to search for my employer to match that gift. I see them listed and select the company. I immediately feel that I’m able to provide a greater personal impact and have additional appreciation for my employer, to boot. It’s a win-win-win!
5. Stock and crypto donations
Are you offering donors their preferred donation option? Gone are the days of just cash or checks; the majority of donors use debit or credit cards, but what if you also offered the ability to donate via stock or cryptocurrency? According to Overflow, a platform that helps nonprofits facilitate the transaction of stock and crypto donations, their average donation is $6,031, which is 47 times higher than the average online donation through traditional bank transfers, debit or credit cards. And both parties benefit because:
• When a donor gives stock to a nonprofit, the donor and the nonprofit don’t have to pay any capital gains tax on the appreciated amount.
• The donor receives a higher charitable tax deduction.
• Receiving stocks allows nonprofits to build financial reserves to put towards long-term goals.
When it comes to raising more funds, it boils down to one question: Are we providing the best donor experience possible to increase our impact? I recommend taking a quarterly assessment of your digital channels, web presence and donor experience to see where improvements can be made.