Monday, June 10, 2013

Five Tips to Creating a Highly Effective Online Fundraiser

HuTerra makes it easy to setup an online fundraiser that tells a compelling story and shows the impact your organization can make with help from supporters. Here are five top tips to get more donors and larger donations:

1.      Show it—Use compelling images that illustrate the need your organization is addressing and evoke emotional responses to the issue.
For example, if your organization operates a shelter for people experiencing homelessness, which image should you use on your fundraiser?
A. The outside of the building

or B. The homeless person

The second image is attention grabbing and visually shows the need the organization is addressing.

2.      Say it—HuTerra Fundraisers provide a place to include the organization’s mission statement and a place to include information about the Fundraiser. Use this space to write a paragraph or two that describe the need and the organization’s impact on the community. Include data on the problem and data on how the organization has a positive impact. Take your time and include emotion-invoking language that gets readers’ attention. Double check for spelling and grammatical errors. You want your content to shine. End it with a clear ask.

Which statement is more impactful?
A.     Our organization provides a safe place for homeless families to sleep.
       B.     There are an estimated 500 homeless people in Green Bay on a given night. Lack of nighttime shelter puts people at risk of illness and physical harm. Our organization shelters 200 people experiencing homelessness every night. We provide hot meals, counseling, and access to healthcare. A donation of $50 will provide shelter for one night for a person experiencing homelessness. Become a Charitable Superhero to hundreds of people who rely on our organization for warmth and safety from the cold night streets.

Option B provides facts that tell the reader how big the problem is, and the impact the organization has, then gives a clear call to action in a positive manner that makes the reader feel like they really are doing an amazing thing with even a small donation.

3.      Link it—Connect your free online Fundraiser in HuTerra to existing social network pages. This will be useful when it is time to share the link and Fundraiser progress with existing supporters and personal contacts.

4.      Date it—HuTerra Fundraisers do not have to include Start and End dates, and many general Fundraisers will remain active indefinitely so supporters can quickly donate to the general funds for the organizations of their choosing. Research shows that including Start and End dates for Fundraisers creates a sense of urgency that promotes more giving, sooner. When does the organization need the money? Consider the timeline of the need and set Start and End dates accordingly. Refer to knowledge on your organization’s existing supporters’ donor activity to determine how long the Fundraiser should last. Too short, and you miss opportunities to connect with new donors; too long, and giving declines because there is no sense of urgency. Consider the time commitment necessary for different Fundraiser lengths. Can you sustain a lengthy campaign, or is it a better use of resources to do a shorter campaign with a lot of messaging out? Also consider the amount of money needed. It takes less time to raise $5000 than to raise $30,000.

If the homeless shelter’s van broke down and the mechanic says it’s on its last legs, the shelter can estimate that it will have to replace the van in autumn. They know they have to raise $30,000 to purchase a new van. Should they set the Fundraiser for the van for:

           A.     30 days
           B.     Three months

Setting the Fundraiser for three months instills a sense of urgency to donors, but allows a reasonable amount of time for this small organization to raise the necessary money.

5.      Share it—Now that the Fundraiser is setup, it’s time to share, share, share the link and the information to the organization’s existing supporters and personal contacts. Email the link directly to email contacts by copy/pasting into an email message. Include images and information that get attention and end the email message with a direct request that supporters click the link and make a donation. Use similar storytelling and direct asks when posting to Facebook and Twitter. Remember to post as the organization’s Facebook page if you have Admin capabilities, as well as to your personal connections. You’ll be surprised by how many people will help out, simply because they support what you do! Remember to Share the link often, and update supporters on the Fundraiser’s progress so they can see the need and the impact they are making.

Find out just how easy it is to setup an online fundraiser for the causes you care at

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