How to harness the internet to smash your fundraising goals.

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How to harness the internet to smash your fundraising goals.

It’s no secret that the internet is king when it comes to marketing in the modern age. Over 55% of the world is online, and they’re all consuming and engaging with content regularly. For non-profits and fundraisers, the internet is a sea of potential investors – as long as you know how to hone your audience correctly.  

You’ve set up your website, you’ve made a Facebook page, but no-one is biting. What’s next? Many marketers underestimate the level of strategy involved to smash your campaign goals. We’ve summarized expert advice from some of the web’s most successful promoters to help you create a fundraiser that thrives.

Stats Are King

The biggest mistake you can make for any fundraising and marketing campaign is to fail to look at the statistics. There’s so much data out there that details common habits of different web users. Similarly, many tools exist that help you uncover information about your specific audience and demographic. The following are all essential steps to take before you even begin your fundraising mission.

  • Research statistics on your audience and their internet habits. For example, consider what age and social demographics are most likely to engage with your campaign. Then investigate which social media platforms these people are more likely to use; find details on their spending habits, or when and where they make donations.
  • Review analytics of previous campaigns. If you’ve tried to fundraise in the past, then there are fantastic insights you can gain from the results. Even if it didn’t go well, try and identify the successes. Look for trends in times, days and the type of people who engaged.
  • Look at fundraising statistics in general. Information about similar successful campaigns and how they played out can be infinitely useful for informing your strategy. Look for who is most likely to donate, when they’re active online and how they can be engaged – e.g., on social media, via email, or through local groups and forums.  

The Marketing Funnel

The marketing funnel is a popular tool that all major companies use to make sales. While its conception was in the commercial world, it’s equally as useful for non-profit fundraisers. It refers to a carefully crafted route that you create, which leads potential donors  from the point of engaging with your brand to giving money to your campaign.

The marketing funnel is made of five simple steps:

  • Awareness

You first need to find a way to make people see your brand. This could be a paid Facebook campaign, utilizing hashtags on Twitter, or sharing your website links in relevant groups and event pages. Your sole aim is to get the right people to see your project.

  • Consideration

Once your audience has engaged – via liking your page, joining your mail list or following your account – now it’s your chance to sell your project. Regular updates, useful related content, blog posts, and behind-the-scenes previews are all great tactics to get your followers to invest in your non-profit. The aim is to make them as excited and engaged as you are yourself.

  • Conversion

If you can give someone enough reasons to support your cause, you can probably get them to donate. The best way to encourage conversions from engaged audience members is to make sure your donation platform is obvious and easy to navigate. You can install buttons on your website and Facebook page, add the URL to your Instagram bio and make sure you’re regularly posting the link on other social accounts.

   4&5. Loyalty & Advocacy

For non-profits, the final two steps go hand in hand. While commercial businesses refer to brand loyalty as always buying your profits, non-profits require people who will engage and share your project. Once a donation is made, this is often a natural progression, but you can encourage followers to advocate by including calls-to-action and social share buttons – anything that reminds them how important it is to spread the word!

Go Mobile

Today, over half of internet users are accessing the web on a tablet or mobile device. The impact this had on fundraising is enormous. Many websites are built solely for desktops and can be difficult to navigate on a smaller screen. If you haven’t optimized your site for mobile, then you’re potentially excluding more than half of your audience!

Many website templates exist that are mobile-first in design. This means they are coded to exist in mobile format but will resize automatically when viewed from a larger device. Not only does this make them navigable on smaller devices, but it also decreases the load time for mobile users – who tend to have less patience for long processing times than those on desktop.

When People Spend
Getting people to hand over their hard-earned cash can be hard. One way to increase success is by looking at when and where they’re already spending. Think of it like this: you’re unlikely to commit to signing-up and donating when you’re checking your social media during the work day, but if you’re already filling up a cart full of shopping online – how much difference will an extra $10 make?

One fantastic tactic for fundraising is to align it with the holiday season. People are already in a giving mindset, and they’re prepared to spend more money than in the average month. In fact, the Thanksgiving weekend alone was projected to see over $23 billion of sales – that’s a pretty big pie to get a piece from!

Other profitable times of the year include:

  • After New Years, when people are caught up in the season of change and new growth.
  • On any awareness day that is related to your specific cause.
  • At the weekend; Saturday and Sunday generally see more casual spending than during the week.


While this is far from a ubiquitous guide to online fundraising, it provides the perfect standing point for your campaign. The next step would be to research individual platforms and find the best advice for each one separately.

If there’s one thing to take away from this post, it’s that successful campaigns require planning and strategy. Using the endless existing data will help you hone your ideas, target the right people and get the donations for which you were hoping.

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