GETTING STARTED WITH ONLINE FUNDRAISING
Did you know that online giving makes up 30% of all charitable donations? With the rise and prominence of websites, such as justgiving.co.uk, this should not be a surprise. But how much focus do we give to online fundraising in our strategies as churches, organisations and businesses?
It is common sense for most churches to rely on offerings given on Sundays. Para-church ministries and charities/not-for-profit organisations, on the other hand, do not have the luxury of such regular offerings from a stable congregation. In these cases, online fundraising is a resource that should not be ignored. There are three main avenues for online fundraising.
Online fundraising platforms
Online fundraising websites, such as JustGiving, Virgin Money Giving or Everyclick, provide an effective way to raise awareness of charitable causes and to raise money from a wide range of people who find out about your cause online. Most of these platforms are integrated with social media, allowing people passionate about your cause to champion it easily and effectively on popular platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. JustGiving has over 83,000 Twitter followers, and will retweet tweets relating to your ongoing campaigns on its platform. JustGiving also has a Facebook page and app to help people donate more easily, thus increasing your completion rates.
Crowdfunding is becoming a popular way for creative people or organisations to raise funds for their projects/ideas. Typically, you upload your project on an online crowdfunding platform, such as kickstarter.com, and individuals within the ‘crowd’ decide whether to back the idea financially. On most platforms, the project has to achieve 100% of its funding goal before receiving the funds. Examples of projects that achieve success on crowdfunding websites are film projects, music, art, design, theatre, games, comics and photography. Crowdfunding can be used to assess the universal appeal and interest your project generates. If no-one funds a project, perhaps that’s an indication to its value, and a sign for you to go back to the drawing board.
Custom Landing Pages
Most organisations raise funds via their websites. The downside of this is that your website may also be providing information about your services, the team, current projects/events and a host of other things. Fundraising is then limited to a PayPal button in the corner of the home page, which can be easily missed. This can be overcome by designing a specific landing page for your fundraising campaigns. Your visitors are far more likely to respond to your fundraising appeal if it is clearly presented without distractions, and exudes a professional feel. A well written and designed landing page can yield major results, and is far more effective than sending potential donors to a website.
How you can discourage people from giving on your website
To give via a website, users would normally respond to a ‘Call to Action’. This could be a button, a banner, or even a link or a PayPal button, that encourages the user to take action. Without a ‘Call to Action’, your website visitors will not be able to give or donate online, no matter how much they want to. So, here are some common ways in which your website could frustrate the purpose of those ever important ‘Calls to Action’.
Collecting irrelevant information on your giving form
Keep your form as simple as possible. This is not the place to ask about your givers’ hobbies or marital status.
Using too many gift string options on your form
Use a maximum of four to five gift options, with an allowance for the user to put in their own amount.
No physical address or contact details on the website or landing page
A physical address or contact number raises credibility.
No images on the website
Images help convey the stories of people you help through your projects, and having images directly related to your project will increase your completion rate.
No indication as to the safety of giving online
Include the icons of recognised and trusted payment methods beside your donation button, such as ‘Verified by Visa’, to let people know that their online giving is safe.
Important things to consider in the design of your landing page or website giving page
Colour: The colours selected should reinforce your organisation’s branding, and help potential givers connect emotionally with the fundraising appeal.
Images: Avoid using stock images, negative images or impersonal images, such as buildings or crowds.
Layout: Select a design layout that avoids scrolling, and make sure it is mobile responsive.
Copy: A simple change in copy can drastically change your completion rates. Engage a copywriter to help craft the right words.
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Keno Ogbo runs Spiral Web Solutions – and can help organisations with their fundraising strategies.
Contact Keno on 07958 004 739, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.