Digital Fundraising: Strategy and Best Practices

In the not-for-profit sector, organizations are constantly looking for easy, cost-effective digital solutions for raising more money.


Donors give more money when it’s easy to do so. Seems simple, but there are many layers of strategy and preparation necessary before launching a successful fundraising campaign, and the results make it all worth it. According to Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum’s study, over $154 million was generated for American charities in 2021 by “digital centric” fundraising. Why not use this opportunity to introduce some digital fundraising to the mix? The value of digital fundraising is significant, in fact research shows that recurring donation options have become increasingly popular with online donors, so much so that online monthly giving revenue has grown by 40%! Keep that in mind, and let’s explore the digital fundraising landscape together.

    The digital fundraising landscape

    Types of digital fundraising

    Online donations can come from many different channels, including your website, social media, and email. Interestingly, new donor behaviors are highlighting a growing trend in text donations. According to Nonprofits Source, in the past year, mobile giving donations have increased by 205%! This could be a great way to tap into a specific market of potential donors; text donors are most likely to be between 49 and 59 years old, female, married, and college graduates. Text-to-donate makes the donation experience as simple as possible for you and your donors, and as we said at the beginning, the easier, the better!

    Popular digital fundraising platforms

    • Zeffy : This zero-fee fundraising platform for nonprofits tracks online donations, segments your donors, and helps you engage with targeted donors via your dashboard.
    • Donorbox : All-in-one nonprofit fundraising and donor management, for all sizes of nonprofits. There are a few fees, but donorbox lets you allow donors to cover these fees for maximum impact.
    • Fundly : This platform provides smaller nonprofits with an easy introduction to crowdfunding, Facebook integration, data analytics, and more. But their fees do add up, make sure to do your research.


    Say it with me, “it all starts with strategy”

    Long before choosing the right platform for your organization, your team needs a strategy to follow in order to maximize your digital fundraising efforts. Do you want it done right, or done right now? Too often fundraising campaigns are planned in haste, but a fundraising strategy is an investment: it will build and uplift all other aspects of your organization at the same time.

    Here is a peak into what it takes to build a proper fundraising plan:

    • Your brand heart: your mission, vision, and values are clear on paper and in practice (meaning your whole team and board have to agree!)
      Investigate the situation: what are your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (aka “SWOT”) and what can you do about them?
    • Donor analysis: do you know what your current and potential donors like about your organization? Are they aware of the great work you do everyday? What are their demographics? What social media platforms can you reach them on?
    • Website: do you have a donation page with a professional design that’s easy to navigate? Are you measuring how many donations come in from your website? Are you measuring how many transactions are not being completed?
    • Communications: do donors have a clear picture of your organization’s story and impact (via social media, website, and email)?

    Best practices for digital fundraising

    Build trust and credibility

    Social media is a powerful digital fundraising tool to show your organization’s impact. When you use social media to share the positive stories of your dedicated volunteers, staff, and donors, your audience of potential donors will trust that you can do, and are already doing, great work. Use photos, videos, and infographics that spotlight who or what is influenced by donations. With tools like social media, newsletters, and your website, underlining your wonderful accomplishments and history will encourage new donors to join in on the critical work your not-for-profit is doing everyday.


    Make the donation process easy and accessible

    Develop an online donation form that is proudly placed on your website, and place its button in the top right of the main menu, on every page.

    On the form, ask only the minimum information; your donors are there to support you with a financial contribution, not to disclose a long list of personal questions. If your donation process absolutely requires several steps across multiple pages, make sure to indicate the progress point after each page. For example, include a text at the halfway point reading something like, “You are halfway through the donation process, thank you for giving!”.


    Segment donors and personalize communications

    Segmenting donors helps engage each donor in a more personalized and meaningful way. Make use of digital tools like a Customer Relationship Management software that have the capacity to organize large amounts of donor and campaign data. Data collecting is a vital part of digital fundraising, as it will help inform the kind of tone and frequency of your communications with donors.

    Digital fundraising is a valuable opportunity for not-for-profit organizations to increase revenue and pursue their missions. With the right planning and strategies in place, donors are more likely to give. To become a part of the digital fundraising landscape and get started on your customized fundraising plan, call us today. We will guide you through the process and help you create a successful digital campaign that engages donors and supports your mission.

    Don’t be discouraged if this all seems overwhelming. Reach out to the Phil team today to discuss how we can best support you! We would love to help. In the meantime, here are some best practices for digital fundraising.