How to Start Online Fundraising


Welcome to “The Ultimate Guide to Online Fundraising”, the #GivingTuesday Edition.

Before we get to the tactics of online giving, it’s ridiculously important to keep one thing in mind: If you’re in fundraising, that means you’re in sales. Any time someone gives you a dollar, they bought into the idea that this dollar equals this impact. That means you made an emotional connection with that person. We have to start with this at the core – “Why” somebody wants to give as opposed to the “how” and the “what”.

Great. Just remember to keep that in mind as we dive into the tactics.

1. Example: #GivingTuesday

Use this as an example for a day of giving. #GivingTuesday creates urgency. You’ve got one day to do this! This time frame will let you test out any of your campaign ideas, and engage your supporters – only if you do this correctly. By the way, we have 29 tips on this here.

2. Take your time

You don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date – that’s weird. Don’t do that. In the same sense – if the day of giving is the first day in which you’re trying to get someone to donate, that might turn out a bit awkward. It takes anywhere from 8-18 months to convert donors from first interaction. Take your time and tell your story over time.

3. Segment Your Data

Hopefully this doesn’t come as a surprise but many people don’t care about your organization. Forget them. Pay attention and segment the people who care a lot about what you do. This is HUGE.

Tools we recommend:

4. Use Teams To Fundraise

Please ask for more than just a click. That’s lazy. Again. Ask for more from people that care! There are plenty of team fundraising tools our there.

Tools we recommend:

5. Don’t Be A Cannibal

When you send out an e-mail asking for $10 from someone who can give $10,000 – you’re being a cannibal. When you’re saying “click here to vote for us” or “just click here one time for a $5 dollar donation” from somebody that’s willing to give a lot more – you’re being a cannibal. Don’t ask too little from people that care a lot.

6.Make It Easy

Make it easy to donate. It’s that simple. Having a paypal button with a ton of forms is ugly. Use other tools to make great looking donation forms.

Tools we recommend:

For more on donation forms, check out Qgiv’s list of 28 Nonprofit Donation Page Best Practices.

7. A/B Test It

If we’re talking about donation pages we must be talking about A/B testing. The fact that you can have a page do 20% better just by figuring out the right order of message, photo, and form – wow. Please A/B test.

Tools we recommend:

8. Thank you!

Say it. It’s not that hard. If somebody has given you money, that means that more than likely, they’re willing to give again. Take advantage of this by saying “thank you”. Retaining a donor, is far more valuable than acquiring a new one.

9. Measure It

If you’ve done all of the above but skipped this step, you just wasted a lot of valuable time. You MUST measure it. At the end of the year you have to do some real data analysis. What types of donors do you have? What is their giving pattern? Did you get 17% of your donations in December? You should ask, and be able to answer such questions.

The only way you can really #fail on #GivingTuesday is by not measuring your results. Consider sharing this resource with other great orgs.