Tis The Season For Online Fundraising


Blackbaud Infographic

The least expensive fundraising methods in terms of time and money are email and social media.
73% of nonprofits use email fundraising.
49% use social media.
That contrasts hosting events, which is the most expensive type of fundraising.
And in-person asks, the second most expensive type.
31% of nonprofits use event fundraising.
80% use in-person asks.

THOUGHT: These data come from Blackbaud’s Friends Asking Friends peer-to-peer fundraising service.

I’ve noticed that while nonprofits excel at telling the persuasive story that compels donations they will often stumble when it comes to the execution of online fundraising. 

They often don’t think about the fundraising process from the point of view of the donor. 

Fundraising appeals through email are often diluted by the addition of other non-fundraising related information or the ask is buried under copy or not obvious. 

According to Blackbaud, the average donation exceeds the average fundraising goal when the appeal is made through Twitter. 

I don’t know the reason why but I suspect the economy of space available on Twitter forces people to think about the links they share there, possibly resulting in more links that go directly to actual fundraising form. 

Conversely, the average donation through a YouTube appeal is dwarfed by the average goal. 

I suspect that, too, comes down to execution in that most nonprofits fail to close the loop with online video. Simply including a link to the donation form within the description of a given YouTube video would likely boost donations from that video significantly. 

Organizations who have a nonprofit YouTube account have the ability to include links to outside websites directly within their videos by using YouTube’s Annotation tool, a fact of which I am supremely jealous. 

Half the battle to effective fundraising is to design a process that is clear, quick and easy.

In the case of email, that means a focused, single purpose email appeal with an obvious donate button that takes you to a donation form that is bereft of navigation to other sections of your site, asks only for the information required to donate, and does not offer too many options. 

So, while nonprofits would be well advised to study the way retailers market online, those of us in the for-profit world would be well advised to study how nonprofits tell stories.

FOLLOW FRIDAY: MAP For Nonprofits, a Minnesota nonprofit devoted to helping other nonprofits achieve their missions through the use of technology.

Thank you for the forward pass.