Digital and Mobile fundraising is tipped to become the most popular way of donating, but charities often fail to engage potential donors online. Our guest blogger, Raj Bhayani spent 15 years working in the sector, so we asked him…
Q1 – Should charities be prioritising digital fundraising?
Cuts in public funding and negative media coverage of some of the ‘traditional’ offline fundraising methods mean digital fundraising is becoming increasingly important.
Charities have become incredibly skilled at using digital channels. And I don’t just mean for raising money.
Digital fundraising is a powerful enabler – it allows charities to engage with a wider and younger audience for whom online is the first (and increasingly, only) destination for information.
We have become adept at using online channels to raise awareness of our work, identifying prospects, cultivating them and developing long-term support. In 2013, £2.4 billion was donated online and via mobile in the UK – a 13% increase on 2012 – representing a quarter of all donations.
And with 80% of the ‘Millennials’ (those born between 1980 and 2000) said to use social media several times a day, every day, digital fundraising will need to be the primary method for charities to engage with this socio-economic group.
Whilst offline channels such as direct mail remain vital sources of support, digital mobile technology and social media are changing the way people donate and interact with charities. Consequently, digital fundraising will increasingly be prioritised.
Q2 What digital channels are proving to be the most successful for fundraising?
With online fundraising you don’t need big budgets or teams, just some great ideas and a plan.
Charities’ own websites still play a central role in generating donations, but by utilizing social media through cross-channel marketing, significant revenue boosts are achievable.
55% of people who engaged with charities and social enterprises via social media were inspired to take further action, such as donate, volunteer, sign a petition or attend an event.
A range of social media platforms exist to facilitate fundraising and many offer opportunities for a content-rich presence (eg YouTube) and excellent integration (eg Instagram and Vine are connected to Twitter & Facebook). For added online success, combine your social media activities with campaigns using Google’s free AdWords.
Whichever digital channel you opt for, your campaigns should be underpinned by a clearly defined strategy. And be mobile friendly!
Q3 – Can you turn online donors into long-term givers?
Technology is enabling people to show that they care – social media should play a key role in your cultivation plans to open up opportunities for people to shout about and to support you. Remember: sharing brings more donors and sharers.
By increasing the focus on ‘user experience’ (UX) of website and mobile channels, charities can increase their profile and secure long-term support.
A clearly defined supporter cultivation strategy combined with engaging and share-able content will help ensure one-off donors and prospects will keep coming back to interact with your cause and deepen the relationship.
The UX should be interactive – get people to share their experiences of having participated in an appeal, event or campaign, widening the scope for increased exposure, advocacy and further donations.
And don’t be afraid to test, innovate and test again. Could the ‘social group ask’ approach work for your organisation? Why not find out fundraising online?
Thanks Raj for sharing his views and experiences. What do you think about digital and mobile fundraising and its potential? Please share your views in comment.