The world of fundraising is a whole new ballgame…thanks to digital fundraising. Digital marketing makes fundraising more accessible to small organizations, groups and individuals. Traditional fundraising campaigns of the past required some kind of budget in order to host a fundraising campaign. Marketing efforts included direct mail, soliciting funds through phone calls, and possibly hosting fundraising events. Today, with digital marketing, any individual or group can create a successful fundraising campaign online, with practically no costs whatsoever.
Benefits of digital fundraising campaigns:
- low marketing costs
- simple engagement for participants, supporters, sponsors, volunteers, and administrators
- easy to spread the word & reach more potential supporters
- ability to share more emotional appeals through video / images
- track effectiveness of campaign in real-time through monitoring reports
So, how does one create a digital marketing campaign for a fundraising event? Below we share some basic steps to help you get started.
It’s really a 3-step process:
- Create the Online Experience
- Drive Traffic to Your Fundraising Website
- Use Digital Analytics to Evaluate
Step One: Create the Online Experience
Today it is easier than ever to create a fundraising website. You don’t need to find a web developer to build a website for you, there are plenty of easy-to-use templates that allow you to simply choose a theme, and ever personalize the look and feel to match your brand. When building your website some important things you should consider include: Usability – your website messaging should be clear and concise. Let people know the need for funding, what their money will be used towards. Use impactful visuals. Tell the story through images and video helping to create a more emotional appeal. Make it easy to navigate. Use buttons that show them exactly what to do. “Donate Now” or “Learn More” and showcase a video that tells your full story.
Once your website is up, this is the HUB for your digital fundraising efforts. This is the place where you send all traffic from your digital marketing efforts. What can visitors do on your fundraising website?
- learn more about the cause, read stories
- register for a fundraising event, purchase tickets
- make online donations
- sign up as a sponsor or volunteer
Remember that even though registering or donating through the website may be the easiest method, some people may prefer more traditional methods. Be sure to include offline options as well. Provide donation and registration forms they can print and mail in, as well as a phone number allowing them to call and sign-up or donate over the phone.
Step 2: Drive traffic to your fundraising website
No matter how nice your website looks and how easy it is to navigate, it will only be an effective fundraising tool if it attracts traffic. People can find your fundraising website a number of ways.
From Your Website Don’t forget to send people who already know your organization to your fundraising website. They are employees, previous donors or supporters, volunteers, etc. Be sure to have an easy way to find your fundraising website from your organization’s home page. Create a visual announcement on your home page, write a blog explaining more, and include a fundraising widget on all pages throughout the website.
Social Media: Another great way to drive traffic from existing supporters is through social media. Post announcements on your Facebook page, schedule numerous tweets about it, talk about it in LinkedIn groups you are involved in, etc. Your fans and followers are interested in what you are up to, and this is a great way to expose them to your fundraising campaign. And, one of the best things about social is the ability to SHARE. By posting announcements on your social channels, your fans and followers will hopefully share your message with their network of family and friends allowing you to gain access to new supporters.
Email & Mail: Don’t forget about traditional methods. Send email blasts to your database of supporters with a prominent link to your fundraising website. If mail is a standard practice, this is also a great way to spread awareness of your cause and send people to your site. Ask partners if they have an email database they might be able to include an announcement for you.
Public relations: Distribute press releases to local news outlets and post in online distribution sites. Follow up to see if media might be interested in conducting an interview with one of your founders, or if they’d be interested in attending your event as a VIP. Perhaps they’d be interested in featuring a story about one of the people struggling to fight disease or impacted by the cause you are raising funds for
Businesses and Sponsors – don’t forget to consider your networks. If you have local businesses or sponsors supporting your fundraising campaign, see if they can help you spread the word. Perhaps they can post a fundraising widget on their website to help drive traffic to you fundraising website. Maybe they will post a guest blog on their website or include a promotional announcement in an email campaign.
Step 3: Analyze Results
A critical step at the close of any fundraising campaign is evaluating success. This used to be much more difficult and included a lot more “estimations”. Where did people hear about you? Was it from the ad you ran in the local newspaper? They flyers or posters you distributed? This is one huge advantage of digital marketing. There are numerous analytics available that give you accurate information in real-time. Google Analytics can help you monitor where website traffic came from. The statistics will show if leads came from partner websites, social media, emails blasts, etc. This information will help you know where to invest your money for future fundraising campaigns. Your fundraising software will also help you evaluate your campaign. By having a digital interface for all your constituents, you can easily collect donor information and help to build your database. You can also track fundraising progress, generate numerous financial reports, and much more.