What do online fundraising and online dating have in common? Each requires you to set up a profile to pique interest of someone on the other side of the computer screen. Both require continual maintenance and interaction to reach the desired result. And, ultimately, both seek to foster an ongoing relationship between two parties. You are, at the end of the day, courting donors for your cause. Okay, call me crazy, but here are some great tips to follow:
What is special, unique, distinctive, or impressive about your organization?
For every basic cause or need, there are dozens of charities to address it. It’s easy to find hundreds of homeless shelters, PTA groups, political candidates, and medical research foundations out there. What makes yours stand apart from the rest? You may want to share that you are the only shelter in your area that has housing for families to board together. Maybe you have a project that was highlighted on the local news for reducing youth crime rates in your city. You might even be the only foundation researching the cause and prevention of a certain pediatric disease. Think about what you do that no one else does.
Additionally, consider boasting about the longevity of your nonprofit, the vast number of people who have been helped, or an award or accolade that you have won. Ponder successes that have set you apart and prove that your organization is strong and necessary.
What is the single most compelling reason you can give a person to be interested in you?
In this fast paced world of information overload, you need to convey as much information as you can in a concise way. I’m sure you can write a page of reasons why people should donate to your charity, but create a hook that grabs your potential supporter to encourage them to keep on reading. Your reason should be urgent, attainable, and thought provoking and contain one or two sentences.
What would happen if your cause didn’t exist? Why should readers take an interest in your cause above others? On your website or donation website, I would write a sentence about the most compelling reason why people should give to your cause in bold letters at the top of the page followed by about 10 facts, figures, and statistics backing up why something has to be done to solve these critical problems. How will people be affected if the problem isn’t solved? How will the donor directly be affected if something isn’t done? The best reason to give is when the problem hits home.
Don’t forget to run spell-check.
If you have misspelled words in your profile, it tells the world that you just don’t care about what you’re doing.Have several people proof read your webpage, e-newsletters, or direct mail campaigns and be sure to double check your Facebook posts. A misspelled word portrays that you are sloppy or uneducated. Also, click on your links to ensure that your donors are going to the correct website.
Do respond to the e-mails that you get.
If you were walking down the street and someone said hello, you’d probably say hello back. It’s the same protocol online. One great thing about social media is that you can contact people through posts and messaging saving about half of the time it would take to speak with someone directly. On the down side, it means that you have more people contacting you so the time that you may be conserving is negated.
However, if someone e-mails you, asks a question on your Facebook wall, or gives you a compliment on Twitter, you should try your hardest to acknowledge their comments in a timely manner. Just as social etiquette dictates that you call back someone or send a thank you note for a gift, so does social media etiquette suggest that interaction is not only polite, but creates a stronger bond to your donor. Of course you may have to delegate this task to someone else and pick and choose which things to respond to, but even a simple line of gratitude makes a big difference.
Who are you attracting?
What does your website say about you and what kind of donors are responding to it? If your suggested giving amounts are too high, you’re probably turning off lower end donors. If your pictures are only of a certain race, sex, or age, you’re potentially leaving out a large population of supporters.
What is the call to action that you are looking for? Certain times of year and different projects that come up have varied needs. If you are looking for volunteers, reflect that on your webpage. Are you collecting school supplies for underprivileged kids? Use this theme to design your newsletter. Are most of your donors older? Create a campaign that’s primary focus is to get supporters from the next generation. Mix it up so that you have a broad base of partners joined with you in reaching your goals.
For both online fundraising and online dating, the purpose basically boils down to creating the best advertisement you can when someone is seeing the product on a one dimensional page. You need to generate interest, stand apart, and show your best qualities for an outcome of commitment.
The explosion of online fundraising for cause-based fundraisers of all sizes will continue to grow online and that means your cause will need to be much more creative and better at promoting your message that not only reaches your target donor audience, but engages with them as well. To learn more about fundraising online and/or create your own online fundraiser, check out Fundly today.