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Recent data gives a thumbs up to online fundraising

online fundraising

The advantages of online fundraising over the traditional ones has often been theorized in the popular literature. Be it in terms of the unimaginably large number of people one could reach, spread across large geographical distances or the relatively easy access to finance which is not dependent on a few big investors.

According to recent data released by Blackbaud Index (which tracks $20 billion in U.S. charitable giving month to month), overall giving for the three months ending in August was down 0.8 per cent as compared to the same three-month period of 2016.

Conversely, online giving saw a rise of 9.8 per cent when the two periods are compared, reinforcing our point, on the upper hand of online fundraising over traditional ones.

This disparity between overall fundraising and online fundraising is present at the sub sector level too. Arts organizations saw a decrease of 0.9 in overall fundraising, while its online fundraising saw an increase of 16.5 per cent, which was the second highest of all sectors.

Human service organizations saw a 0.6 per cent overall decrease but the third largest online increase at 14 per cent.

Healthcare organizations saw an overall increase of 3.1 per cent and an online increase of 8.1 per cent. Public society benefit organizations which were the biggest gainers in overall fundraising at 5 per cent were also the biggest gainers when it came to online fundraising at 18.7 per cent.

International affairs and education are two sectors which underwent an overall contraction when it comes to overall fundraising but saw an increase when it comes to online fundraising.

Now, coming to organization level data, large organizations, those with a revenue of $10 million or more struggled the most overall, seeing a decline of 2.4 per cent but were the biggest gainers online, with a rise of 11.5 per cent.

Small organizations which are defined as those with revenue of $1 million or less, were on the opposite end of the spectrum and witnessed an overall growth of 2.4 per cent and an online growth of 4.4 per cent. Medium sized organizations saw an increase of 0.4 per cent overall and a growth of 9.3 per cent online.

Looking at all the recent data and figures, together with the sectoral and the organizational break up, we could safely concur on the fact that online fundraising is the way to go. It is not only an attractive option in terms of raising funds but also a tested community building exercise where you form deeper bonds with the people contributing to your cause by keeping them in the loop all along.

How to Let Parishioners Know You’re Fundraising Online

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So you’ve set up an account with GiveCentral—our web-based donation tool that consolidates all collection, fundraising, and communication activities in one place—and you’re feeling pretty good. You’ve got your systems set up, your goals written out, and you’re ready to start accepting electronic donations. There’s just one simple problem. Your parishioners have no idea that you’re doing, well, any of it.

First things first, don’t panic. You’ve done a great thing by hopping on the online fundraising train. Research into charitable giving in 2016 found that giving increased 1% overall last year, but that online giving increased faster than the average, up 7.9% from the year before. If you build it—and let them know about it—they will come. Here’s how to let your parishioners know that you’re online and ready to receive donations.

Turn to social media

First things first, it’s time to craft a social media blast to let the parishioners that follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram know that your GiveCentral platform is ready to roll. No need to agonize about this; think short, informative, and to-the-point. If you’re stuck, try something like this:

Tired of writing paper checks? We’re thrilled to let you know that you can now donate to [your parish’s name here] online! It’s quick, easy, and secure. Click the link below for more information.

Don’t forget about other forms of social media, like YouTube and Pinterest. If your parish already uses them, be sure to advertise your GiveCentral account there, too.

Go old-school

Of course, not all your parishioners are going to be on Twitter. That’s why it’s important to announce your GiveCentral presence in more traditional ways—i.e., on paper. Put a notice in your bulletin, print out an announcement and tack it to your bulletin board, and include a mention in your parish newsletter. By announcing it both online and off, you stand a better chance at catching the attention of all your parishioners.

Make your website donor-friendly

If you hop over to any major non-profit’s website, from the ACLU to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to the St. Raymond de Penafor Parish (a GiveCentral user!), you’ll find that they make it very, very easy for you to donate. Whether it’s a pop-up, a large “Donate” button, clean graphics, or all of the above, it’s immediately clear that donating to their cause is the primary way a website visitor can help.

Draw inspiration from these huge nonprofits and make sure your website directs visitors to your GiveCentral platform. It doesn’t have to be fancy; no pop-ups or .gifs required. Just make sure the information is on your front page—and easy to read.

Use social proof

The concept of “social proof” is a useful one for parishes to remember when they’re working on fundraising. Broadly, social proof is what happens when you buy a product based on your friend’s recommendation, or watch a video because everyone in your Twitter feed is recommending it. When it comes to fundraising, capitalize on the power of social proof by letting potential donors know that other donors are already contributing. Also, consider letting your parishioners know how these donations are being used. This could take the form of a photo posted on social media, a paragraph in your newsletter, or even a tasteful announcement from the pulpit, if that feels appropriate. The idea is to let your community know that people are supporting your cause and that, if they want to do so too, they simply need to hop online.

The good news is that none of these tips and tricks should take you very long, and the payoff is large! The better news is that we’re here to help. If you are looking to improve your fundraising and make the process much more efficient and far less stressful, GiveCentral may just be the product for you. We’ve got the lowest processing fees in the marketplace—and the passion and knowledge to help you exceed your fundraising goals. Ready to hear more? Reach out to us today.

Email Communication

Holiday Email Adds a Big Boost to Year-Round Growth

The GiveCentral team’s goal is to help all of our client organizations to raise more, and we see a tremendous opportunity to improve donor retention rates over traditional payment methods like cash and checks. Earlier this year, we engaged hundreds of parishes in an exercise to test the power of communication to bring back donors who have stopped giving. Using the free email communication portal available to every GiveCentral client, we were able to demonstrate the potential of sending a single message before an important holiday.In the days before Easter Sunday 2015, we helped participating parishes send a message to their online donors who had not yet signed up to make an Easter donation to their parish. Each parish used GiveCentral’s free communication portal and email templates. The simple messages encouraged recipients to find their church on GiveCentral and make a donation.comparison graph: increase in fundraising between organizations who sent email vs. those who did notParticipating parishes saw a sustained increase in giving, growing by more than 9 percent on average over the following six months. That is nearly five times faster than the parishes that did not send an email.

  • 750 new donors responded to the call to give online.
  • Participating parishes saw a 323 percent increase in online Easter donations.
  • A single parish signed up 57 new donors with one email.

Communicating regularly is one of the most effective ways to raise more for your organization, and never is that more true than ahead of major holidays like Christmas and Easter. All you have to do is ask.

Download a case study of this great success story here.