4 best practices for online fundraising

Here's a short and sharp look at the fundamentals of fundraising online. Some of the methods discussed here are intrinsic to online e-commerce, and all of these methods are dependent on good general marketing practices (e.g. maximise existing relationships with calls to actions in your e-newsletters).

1. Goal setting

This example from Oxfam.com.au beautifully illustrates how to associate a tangible goal with a donation request, and encapsulate a brief story narrative without distracting from the online donation action. 

When requesting donations, clearly demonstrate where the funds are most likely to go and the anticipated outcomes - give the user a goal.

2. Streamline, streamline, streamline 

Most of the recommendations here are just good user experience practices, that is focus on making the donation process as straightforward, simple and not a time-suck as possible.

Provide donation amount suggestions: Minimise the decision making and potential stumbling block for users by suggesting donation amounts, tieing these back to the goals, and auto-default to an amount

Single page process: don't create a multi-page, multi-click donation process


3. Recognise (and rewards)

Calling out givers and sponsors signifies not only that your organisation values contributors and their efforts, but that individuals are being impactful.

This is a great stage at which to tie in with social networks, broadcasting your message of thanks to the givers Facebook wall/Twitter stream. Leaderboards, introducing a gamification element, is often used to recognise fundraisers while incentivising them to keep going.

4. Tracking progress

Bringing us back to goal-setting, a progress tracker allows contributors to work collectively gauge progress in achieving a common goal.

Organisations referenced here

Include: OxfamFred Hollows FoundationNothing But Nets and World Wildlife Foundation.

Online fundraising summary

The online donation methods explored here are the fundamentals that underpin your fundraising, these should be the foundational groundwork you lay before considering nice-to-have extras such as social networking integration. We have successfully crafted and implemented these methods for high profile Australian charities; but we love to learn from others out there - got any stories about what did/not work for you?

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