Master Online Fundraising with These Awesome Tools

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Tools for Branding, Social Media, and Visuals Boost Online Giving

Best Friends branded donation page brings in more money than a plain one would.
Best Friends Animal Society's branded donation page exemplifies excellent online giving practices. Screenshot of Best Friends Donation Page

More and more charitable giving comes through online channels. The Network for Good Digital Giving Index reported that online giving still represents a small portion of total charitable giving (10%),  But it is the fastest growing segment overall.

More encouragingly, studies have found that the little guys are doing it well. In fact, small nonprofits are growing their lists of online donors faster than larger nonprofits!

Online and mobile fundraising tools are now plentiful, reasonably priced, and easy-to-use. Nonprofits should use them so that donors have every possible opportunity to donate.

Here are inspired digital tools that could help your organization raise even more money this year. 

Givelet.org and Leadpages.net

What it is:

You have two seconds to capture someone’s attention when they click on a link to your website.

Do not squander this moment by making a potential donor click around on your website’s homepage, trying to find the donation page. Both Givelet.org and Leadpages.net enable your nonprofit to create a dedicated giving page, complete with your branding, logo, colors, photos, videos, and graphic design.

Branded giving pages are easy to create and to promote, and have been found to raise seven times more money than general giving pages that do not feature your logo or identifying graphics.

How to use it:

Sign up and create your giving page in just a few easy steps. Promote your giving page everywhere you ask for online and mobile donations. Invest in social advertisements to increase the number of views and click-throughs to your giving page (more about that later in this post).

Giving pages created with both Givelet.org and Leadpages.net are automatically mobile-optimized. Both services also allow tracking, click through rate, bounce rate, and other relevant metrics that will help you determine how well the page works and ways to improve the donor experience.

As a bonus, add a compelling video to the giving page – Google found that 57% of online donors made a donation after watching an online video.

Best Friends Animal Society Giving page (see above) is a fantastic example of a branded giving page. 

GaggleAmp.com

What it is:

GaggleAmp allows you to recruit easily and communicate with your own “Gaggle” of online supporters.

People who have an affinity for your organization can promote it and ask for donations via their social media channels. Potential donors are much more likely to give to your cause if they see “social proof” that it resonates with many others, especially people they know and trust.

How to use it:

If you have a Digital Ambassador program, invite the group to join you on GaggleAmp by signing up. You can then post messages for the Gaggle to Tweet out, post on Facebook, share via email, and more. If you do not yet have a Digital Ambassador program, Gaggle can help you identify and recruit potential supporters.

Using a platform like this allows you to have control over the messages and the language of the posts. Your Gaggle can pick and choose what they want to share, when, and where, and how much sharing they would like to do. 

Thunderclap.it  

What it is:

Thunderclap enables a large group of your supporters to tweet and post at the same time to raise online awareness of your cause.

If enough people post and tweet at once, your cause can be listed as “Trending” on social media, and this buzz helps create a sense of urgency and timeliness around your ask for donations.

You provide the information for the Thunderclap message, and your supporters register for free, connect their social media accounts, and select where and how they want to share the messages.

How to use it: ­

Rally your social media fans and followers to announce your annual appeal or fundraiser! Creating a Thunderclap is an excellent way to encourage existing donors to celebrate their generosity and commitment to your cause by spreading the word to their networks. This platform is perfect for 24-hour online giving days such as #GivingTuesday when time is of the essence.

  Venngage.com

What it is:

Venngage is a free infographic maker. An infographic is a visual image or graphic, often in a long vertical format, that is used to display data or other information.

According to Google Trends, searches for the term “infographic” have increased by 800% in just the last three years. Beth Kanter has curated a great Pinterest board with some examples of nonprofit infographics.  

How to use it:

Create infographics about the problem you are solving, your impact on the problem, the stories of those you serve, and ways that donors can help. Combine data with great visuals and stories to draw donors.

Treat each infographic like a piece of valuable content and create a promotion strategy to ensure it reaches a large number of potential supporters. Make sure there is a particular Donate Now call to action in the infographic, and that you brand it with your giving page URL and logo.   

 Animoto.com

What it is:

Animoto is a super easy-to-use platform that lets you create online videos using your computer or your phone.

You upload photos, choose music, select animation, and customize your video, all without using complicated video-editing software. The video can then easily be downloaded or shared on social media sites for added exposure. Nonprofits can apply to get Animoto for free.

How to use it:

Video is widely considered the most effective way to engage supporters online. However, many nonprofits find video marketing to be expensive and cumbersome.

Animoto makes the creation of exciting and unique nonprofit videos simple. Use Animoto to tell a great story about the beneficiaries of your programs, set it to upbeat music, and share the video everywhere you communicate with donors!

Make sure to feature a Donate Now call to action at the end of the video with the URL to your branded giving page.  

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Facebook Donate Now Button and Paid Ads

Facebook ad for Boston Children's Hospital
A clear, compelling, concise, and creative ad from Boston Children's Hospital. Screenshot of Boston Children's Hospital FB ad.

Facebook Donate Now Button

What it is:

As all Facebook Page Administrators know, organic (unpaid) reach on Facebook is down dramatically. Realistically, the only way to get your message in front of a significant number of current and potential donors on Facebook is to budget some money towards paid advertisements.

The good news is that Facebook recently rolled out a “Donate Now” call to action button both for Nonprofit Facebook Pages and for their Facebook Ads. Visit the Advertiser Help Center for a step-by-step guide to setting up your Donate Now button.

How to use it:

Set it up first on your Facebook Page. When donors click on the Donate button in your cover photo, a pop-up window will appear with suggested gift amounts (see below).

Then craft a Facebook Ad featuring a great story, an eye-catching visual, and a timely call to action to your donors. The Boston Children’s Hospital created an excellent example of an effective advertisement on Facebook because it is clear, compelling, concise, and creative.

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Twitter Ads, Virtual Donor Walls, and Hashtags

Heifer's ad on Twitter is a great example of social media advertising.
Heifer's ad on Twitter is a great example of social media advertising. Screenshot of Heifer Twitter ad.

Twitter Ads

What it is:

Twitter several useful tools for nonprofits that work for fundraising. Features like Promoted Videos, tailored audiences, Website Cards, and Lead Generation Cards can help your nonprofit rise above the Twitter clutter and reach new supporters while engaging current ones.

How to use it:

Heifer International uses Lead Generation Cards to encourage people to sign up for their email list, which they then use to grow their donor list (see above).

Target your ads to the people who will be most receptive to your cause by using tailored audiences. Website Cards that feature a colorful photo stand out in the Twitter feed and direct Twitter users to a particular website (your branded giving page, for example).

 JustCoz.org

What it is:

Twitter users sign up for free and offer to tweet out various messages from organizations they support.

How to use it:

Sign up using your organization’s Twitter account and create a call to action (CTA). Then encourage your Digital Ambassadors and other supporters to “donate a tweet” to the cause, and they will tweet out the CTA.

Use your current donors who are active on Twitter to tweet “I support XYZ cause because they help hundreds of children in the community every year. Join me in giving this year!” Then add your organization’s Twitter handle and a link to your branded giving page URL.

SupporterWall.com

What it is:

SupporterWall is a neat way to raise set-amount donations and acknowledge donors visually on a virtual “SupporterWall."

Charities put their “SupporterWalls” on their websites where donors can purchase various sized squares and upload their photo or company logo. The size and prominence of the squares are determined by your set giving levels.  

How to use it:

Register your nonprofit, customize how you would like your wall to look, set the donation amounts, and connect it to a PayPal account.

Feature your SupporterWall at a fundraising event on a big screen and see the gifts arrive in real time. You can acknowledge the donor (they also have the option to remain anonymous) and offer social proof that will encourage others to make a gift. You can also connect it to your social media accounts and ask your donors to tweet the link and post it on Facebook.

Hashtags  

What they are: 

Hashtags are a fantastic tool to filter out information and only find topics that interest you. One example of a hashtag to monitor is the #PhilanthroKids hashtag, an unofficial hashtag used to categorize charitable stories and ideas from Generation Z

How to use hashtags:

Used widely on sites like Twitter and Instagram, hashtags can be deployed for research, listening, and collecting information about your donors and what is important to them.

You should actively monitor the hashtags relevant to your cause as well as those that apply to nonprofit fundraising, both to find donor prospects and to curate resources to share with your donors.