Surprising fact: More Americans are donating to charity than ever before, but it may not be who you think. The typical donor is not wealthy; in fact , the average donor falls somewhere in the lower to middle income range.
The following is a list of helpful tips for fundraising on the internet.
Step 1: Understand Your Donors’ Motivations for Giving
Before you start the time-consuming process of developing an internet marketing strategy, it’s important to have a firm and thorough grasp of who your donors are and why they donate.
The 7 Reasons People Give:
- They want to feel good about themselves.
- They want to return a favor—The donor or a loved has been helped by a particular charity or cause in the past.
- They’re looking for a tax deduction
- They wish to help solve a social or political problem that they find important or that has personally affected their friends or family.
- They wish to make a statement about their beliefs
- They wish to align themselves with friends, peers or other members of the community
- They have been educated or entertained by an organizer’s content
The last item on this list is important to keep in mind when devising a social media marketing strategy. Focus on creating quality, information-heavy blog content that informs. People are more likely to donate to charities when they feel they’ve gained something—in this case, information—in return for their support.
Who is Telling Them to Give?
Women—Extended family, friends and co-workers. Most women give based on recommendations from their inner circle.
Men—Their spouses. In a 2009 survey by the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, over 90% of men said their spouses were the primary influence behind their decision to donate to a particular charity. Women may get recommendations from friends, but men get recommendations from their significant others.
Step 2: Consider the Donors’ Motivations When Creating Content
As you’ve read above, there are seven main reasons people donate. Make sure you are addressing at least one of those reasons with each article, blog post, social media campaign or appeal letter you create. When producing blog content, vary the target demographic of each post. Write a blog post about “How to Donate so that Your Gift is Tax-Deductible” for the people giving so that they can receive a tax deduction, for example. Then write another blog post about “The Importance of Paying it Forward” for those motivated to give back to the community.
Step 3: Develop Credibility Through Repeat Exposure
People want to donate to organizations that seem trustworthy, legitimate and credible. Although personal referrals work best in increasing your nonprofit’s credibility, repeat exposure is a close second. The more exposure people have to your organization, the more credible your organization will seem.
How to Boost Exposure:
- Consistent and frequent social media postings
- Blog content (paying $5 to “boost posts on Facebook is a cheap way to ensure more people are exposed to your organization. It also helps drive traffic to your site).
- Email blasts
- Press releases
- Industry-specific guest blogs
4 Helpful Tips for Fundraising
Most people are more likely to donate to a local cause than a global one. Thus, even if you’re a national charity, focus on your local community first. Run targeted Facebook ads and sponsor events within your town or city.
Don’t use guilt trips
Avoid using language that gives people the impression that you want them to feel bad for not donating. Some nonprofits try to convince affluent people to donate by attempting to make them feel guilty about their wealth. But as it states in Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits: Real-World Strategies That Work, “…Most affluent people either don’t realize how good they’ve got it, aren’t listening, or are already major nonprofit donors. In none of these instances will a guilt-based pitch help—and it might end up breeding resentment.”
Turn your volunteers into donors
Studies show that people who volunteer for a charity are almost 40% more likely to donate to a cause than those who do not. Thus, it makes sense to collect the email addresses and phone numbers of everyone who volunteers for your organization, even if it’s just for a one-time event. Next time you gather a group together to clean a highway, paint a church or run a telethon, don’t just thank them and send them on their way; get their contact info.
Remember: Most donors won’t stick around for more than 2-3 years
Regardless of how great your charity is, statistics show that most donors only donate to a charity for two to three years before they move on. And it’s usually not the charities fault. According to Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits, most people “prefer to spread their giving around and will deliberately withdraw their support when they think it’s someone else’s turn.” Although it should be a goal to turn every donor into a long-term supporter, you should make sure your strategy always includes a plan for attracting new support.
Source: Iona Bray, JD. Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits: Real-World Strategies That Work. August 2010. NOLO.
Reannon Muth is the founder and owner of Skylark Media Consultants. Prior to starting her own consulting firm, Reannon worked as the Director of Content Development for a leading internet marketing company. She currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.