How To Optimize Your Digital Fundraising: 4 Quick Tips

Posted by National Catholic Development Conference on 4/20/17 12:32 PM

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With the rise of the digital age, you now have access to cheaper analytics, better automation, and more ways to please your donors. To help you capitalize on these advances, we compiled 4 tips to help you optimize your digital fundraising channel.

TIP #1: Start A/B Testing

One of the great advantages of digital fundraising is how easy it is to test without a lot of added time or cost. Try testing two different versions of your donation page to see which results in the most conversions, i.e. donations.

“The optimal donation page varies from nonprofit to nonprofit, but the goal is to make the experience as convenient as possible for your donors so they're more likely to contribute. Consider this: 65% of nonprofits are still using an online donation form that requires three or more clicks to submit a donation.”

Pare down your donation page to make it as simple and easy as possible for site visitors to donate. Then try testing two versions by using one page for a period of time, and then trying the second version. Another easy way is to publish both pages at the same time and then split your website traffic equally between the two pages.

[Dan Quirk, “22 Strategies to Take Your Fundraising To The Next Level,” Salsa Labs]

TIP #2: Use Automation To Strengthen Donor Relationships

“When we move to online fundraising, if we aren’t capturing and using data well, we are effectively fundraising in the dark.”

The pace at which data and automation capabilities have advanced is astounding. Capturing donor data allows you to learn more about your supporters and personalize your relationship with them.

Data also allows for the possibility of automation. If you find there are certain tasks that you are repeatedly doing, or that reliably need the same type of response, consider automating those tasks. For example, a first-time donor should always receive a specific “welcome” message. Automation can make sure those donors reliably receive a message tailored to them.

“An automated welcome series can move messages and outreach off your plate while maintaining the donor experience you want to provide,” suggests Amy Sample Ward. “Setup messages to be triggered over a series of days and weeks after a new donor contributes to thank them, introduce your programs and services, and invite them into your community with other non-financial actions.”

[Amy Sample Ward, “Technology and the Shift to Donor-Centric Fundraising,” NP Engage]

TIP #3: Identify Your Digital Channel KPIs

The 2016 Digital Outlook Report showed that the vast majority of surveyed nonprofits are limited by the inability to prove ROI when it comes to their digital fundraising. The report, which was a collaboration to help nonprofits “best leverage digital communications and fundraising to make the world a better place,” also identified the researchers’ key performance indicators (KPIs):

  1. New donor acquisition rate
  2. Donor renewal rate
  3. Donor reactivation rate
  4. Net new donors
  5. Average gift (by channel)
  6. Time to first/second gift
  7. Revenue per donor (by channel)
  8. Cost to raise (by channel)
  9. Gross/net revenue
  10. Lifetime value (by channel)

Looking at these KPIs, both for digital fundraising and in conjunction and comparison with the same metrics other fundraising channels, communications and events, can help you determine the ROI.

[Nancy Schwartz  “10 Donor Stats You Need to Know for Dramatically Better Digital Fundraising,” Network for Good]

TIP #4: Begin Segmenting Your Email File

Your email list is a huge opportunity, given that everybody on your list has requested to get information from you. But that doesn’t mean that every email subscriber is equal.

John Haydon identifies five ways that you should be segmenting your email list:

  1. New vs. regular donors
  2. Annual giving level
  3. Potential major donors
  4. Potential matching gift donors
  5. Fundraising event attendees

In the same way you wouldn’t send the same message to a casual acquaintance as to an old friend, neither should you be sending the same email to all donors. Use prospect research and your own giving data to craft messages tailored to the audience.

[John Haydon, “5 Ways to Use Donor Data to Segment your Email List,”]

How can you turn your Facebook Audience into lifelong donors and advocates?

Start using Facebook Ads to get more email addresses and to begin nurturing your donor relationships.


Topics: Website Optimization

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In this weekly blog we share tips, tactics and case studies for professionals in the Catholic fundraising community. Learn how to advance your mission with articles on technology, donor engagement, nonprofit leadership, social media, and emerging trends.

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