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 what you’re doing.
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.
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.