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8 Online Donations Trends to Digitalize Your Nonprofit

Did you know that more than 50% of donors would rather give online than in person? Fundraising is a big focus for nonprofits because it is an important source of their income throughout the fiscal year. Is your organization ready for online donations?  

Forget speaking to strangers on the street and handing out flyers. There are plenty of ways to fundraise for your nonprofit without stepping outside! Online donations have become more common, which means your nonprofit should explore more ways to fundraise online.

In this article, we’ll explore recent digital fundraising trends (from the 2018 Global Trends in Giving Report by Nonprofit Tech for Good) to use in your fundraising campaigns.

On the agenda:

  1. Generation Z: an Underestimated Resource for Online Donations
  2. Connect with Donors on Social Media
  3. Email as a Fundraising Tool
  4. Online Donations through Corporate Sponsorships
  5. Recurring Donations: The Long-Term Solution
  6. Increase Online Donations with Chatbots
  7. Build an Online Community with a Blog
  8. Measure Impact of Donations Received

Let’s talk about how to fundraise online!

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Generation Z: an Underestimated Resource for Online Donations

Known as "digital natives," Generation Z was born at the end of the 1990s. This generation has been technologically fluent for most of their lives.

Did you know? Gen Z makes up at least 20% of the working population in the United States. According to the 2018 report, 49% of Gen X donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program.  

If your nonprofit understands how to communicate with Gen Z, you could tap into an underestimated source of support and donations. 

First, you should adapt for the smartphone. Generation Z is very active on their smartphones, so your website should be mobile-friendly and “responsive” (i.e., adapts to screens of smartphones and tablets). 

No matter which generation, 54% of donors worldwide prefer to donate online with a credit or debit card. This means your website should be set up to receive these online donations.

Your website needs a call-to-action button such as “Support Us” or “Donate now” that is clearly visible on your home page.

To do all this, it’s important to choose the right software to create and manage your nonprofit’s website. With Springly, you don't have this concern since it adapts to any type of screen!

Pro Tip: Gen Z is really interested in creative ways to fundraise, including social media and crowdfunding. Check out this article dedicated to crowdfunding tips for nonprofits. 

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Connect with Donors on Social Media

Social media is an increasingly powerful tool to reach potential donors. All generations appear to be most inspired by social media to donate.

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Source: 2018 Global Trends in Giving Report (Nonprofit Tech for Good)

You can reach donors from any generation by launching a fundraising campaign on social media. In order to do this, you need to establish a strong social media presence first. 

You can use hashtags to connect your social media content to existing fundraising campaigns. One example is #GivingTuesday, which was created in 2012 as an effort to encourage the public to donate to nonprofits that they want to support.

Facebook and Instagram both have fundraising tools for nonprofits:

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Some questions to ask while you’re creating a social media fundraising plan: 

What age group am I talking to? What are their interests? What type of message would resonate with them? 

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Email as a Fundraising Tool

Are you mailing fundraising appeal letters to donors? If mailing letters to your community is working for your organization, keep doing it.

However, email is a great tool for fundraising campaigns too, trailing just behind social media. About 20% of donors are inspired to make a donation by email campaigns

Of course, emails have evolved over time. Today’s email campaigns are focused on great-looking visual content and storytelling to inspire donations.

You should also segment your database to remove email addresses of people who should not receive the email campaign, for example if they have already donated this fiscal year.

Once the donations are received, you can continue to use email to communicate with donors. 68% donors prefer to be thanked by email for their donations!

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Online Donations through Corporate Sponsorships

Why do companies want to support nonprofits? One reason is to boost the company’s presence and image in the local community, or in a specific industry. Corporate sponsorships also help companies reach new potential customers or clients.

As a nonprofit, you can get in touch and forge new partnerships with companies if you have a mutually beneficial project in mind. 

The partnership can also be approached through their employees. Large corporations sometimes have a matching donation program that matches donations made by their employees to nonprofits. 

This method is included in this article, because if your nonprofit is listed on the company’s website as a partner, it would be another way to promote your nonprofit to potential donors. Employees and clients who visit the company website could be encouraged to make a donation. 

Inquire with your corporate sponsors if they can promote your nonprofit on their website and encourage online donations. 

Pro Tip: Think about what is in it for them when making your ask! For example, you mention how it can improve their brand image by showing collaboration with nonprofits. 

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Recurring Donations: The Long-Term Solution

When it comes to the sustainability of your funding, recurring donations are your best friend. A one-time donation is good, but a recurring donation is even better!

To make recurring donations easy for your donors, you should offer online direct debit payment. If there are too many steps to donate, donors might balk at the inconvenience!

With Springly’s all-in-one online software, you can offer a form for donors to set up recurring donations via direct debit payment.

Whether it's a one-time or recurring donation, collecting online donations allows you to gather your donors' contact information. With their email address or mailing address, you can send them personalized thank you notes and tax receipts. 

You can even contact them again in the future, to update them about more opportunities to support your nonprofit.

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Increase Online Donations with Chatbots

Artificial intelligence is a helpful tool for nonprofits because it can automate some tasks, which will allow you to focus on your other priorities!

One tool that has been utilized by companies is the Facebook Messenger chatbot (a virtual robot programmed to reply to chat messages). Chatbots can help your nonprofit by quickly answering questions from potential donors, and offering customer support. 

How can a chatbot help my nonprofit, you might ask? 

With a chatbot available to help you manage your Facebook Messenger inbox or on your nonprofit’s website, your community doesn’t have to wait for your staff to be at the office. They can ask the chatbot their questions about donating or joining as a member after your business hours have ended, and during weekends too. 

When you’re setting up a chatbot on your website, you’ll need to imagine several scenarios and possible questions that your community would ask. You can set up the answers for the chatbot to reply with, or have the chatbot provide links to any articles in your FAQs or Help Center. 

Chatbots can eliminate any barriers for the online donor, because any questions about the donation process or nonprofit are answered immediately. 

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Build an Online Community with a Blog

A community is a group of people who share common bonds, interests, or goals. 

Your nonprofit should build a strong community by increasing communication between all of your various stakeholders. Staff, donors, volunteers, beneficiaries - everyone can be communicating with each other!

This strong community can lead to 2 results:

  • More donations from current donors, because they feel connected to your nonprofit’s mission. 

  • More effective “ambassadors” for your nonprofit, because everyone feels involved in the nonprofit community, knows what is happening, and is invested in the nonprofit’s success. They’ll talk about your nonprofit with their networks, and invite friends to join them in supporting your cause.

One way to strengthen community for your nonprofit is to share stories, news, and features about your nonprofit on a blog, for example.

Was there an event? Share some photos and talk about what happened.

What did your nonprofit accomplish this year? Highlight some anecdotes. 

Are you recruiting new volunteers or interns? Introduce them!

You can encourage your community to read these stories by promoting blog articles on social media and/or your email newsletter

It’s no wonder social media is a powerful platform to inspire donations. It promotes a sense of community for all your followers, and allow them to get to know your nonprofit and other people who are passionate about the same interest!

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Measure Impact of Donations Received

Collecting one-time donations for your nonprofit is a great start. However, to build donor loyalty to your nonprofit, and ensure financial sustainability, you should show proof of the donations’ impact. 

One way of doing this is to measure success based on what your nonprofit accomplished thanks to the donations.

Some possible ways to show the real impact of donations include: 

  • Invite donors to witness the completed mission (site of new building, special invitation to event that was funded by donations, etc.)

  • Share a testimony from someone who was helped by the project

  • Send a photograph and/or video of the project in action

  • Create a visual graphic with charts and graphs to show what the donations have made possible

It’s up to you how to show donors how much their donations help the nonprofit complete its work. Some donors might prefer an in-person experience, while others are happy to receive occasional email updates.

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As nonprofits begin to explore online fundraising, it’s important to stay updated on giving trends so that you can use the best fundraising methods available.

If you combine the convenience of online donations and strategic communication, your nonprofit can launch a successful online fundraising campaign! Be sure to utilize a donor retention strategy in coordinance with these campaigns to guarantee the best results possible. 

Springly is an all-in-one online software that is dedicated to helping nonprofits manage daily administrative tasks. Your online donations could be managed easily and efficiently using Springly. 

Discover how Springly can help you save time and money, with a 30-day free trial!

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