Digital Fundraising: A Personalized Approach for Associations and Nonprofits

Digital Fundraising: A Personalized Approach for Associations and Nonprofits

Many associations and nonprofits still use traditional fundraising methods involving in-person and print methods. However, digital fundraising is growing in popularity because of its many benefits. Here’s how your organization can enjoy
the potential for greater revenue with this development wave of the future.

What Is Digital Fundraising?

Think of digital fundraising as being more process oriented, as opposed to the event-oriented focus with conventional fundraising. Rather than hosting yearly galas or conducting annual mailings, digital fundraising uses ongoing techniques, such as:

  • Email campaigns
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media awareness
  • Text messaging
  • Online advertising and remarketing

You can combine digital and traditional fundraising methods or use solely digital strategies.


The Benefits of Digital Fundraising

Why do so many associations and nonprofits embrace digital fundraising lately?


Continuous fundraising capability

First, there’s the ability to carry on fundraising efforts throughout the year, instead of only at specific times. This better allows you to nurture prospects over months to eventually secure membership and gifts. Most associations also enjoy greater donor retention this way too.

Attractive to a younger demographic

Digital fundraising also appeals more to Millennials and younger people who grew up using modern technology. Since associations know they need to bring in younger people for longevity, digital fundraising is an ideal solution.


Better fit for today’s virtual and hybrid events

If your association is like many these days, you’ve adopted virtual conferences or hybrid meetings (maybe even a virtual office). Covid pushed this change for some, while others like improved sustainability and lowered costs. Digital fundraising dovetails perfectly with these initiatives


Reduced staff and board workload

Once you get the hang of digital fundraising, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is for your employees and board members. You’re not starting from scratch with new fundraising events; your organization simply keeps building on previous efforts. Not happy with the results of a digital campaign? It’s easy and inexpensive to change course and try something new.


Tips for Using Digital Fundraising for Your Organization

How can you start using digital fundraising with your association? Follow these tips to begin and see success quickly.


Explore how to reach members

You may not need every single digital outlet to reach your desired demographic. (You’ve already created an association donor/member avatar, right?) Think about which channels are best for your organization. If you’re not sure, survey members and those who expressed interest.


Start collecting data for communication

To reach your target demographic digitally, you need their data. That means collecting email addresses and segmenting lists. It may also entail getting phone numbers for text messages. Texting may seem impersonal, but it’s actually the opposite. You can reach people in real-time and convey a sense of urgency, e.g., “Donate within the next 48 hours, and X company will match your gift!”


Make sure your website supports digital fundraising

The association website is a great place to start gathering data and hosting online fundraising. Make sure your website includes these elements:

  • Email capture bars and forms for data like mobile numbers
  • Banners promoting your fundraising campaigns
  • A button or two leading straight to donation payment pathways
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) for higher search rankings

Your website SEO should include keywords donors would use to find your organization when searching online. It should also include local SEO, such as your city and a few local landmarks.


Beef up your social media presence

Make sure your social media accounts are up to date and monitored. Think of them as part of a marketing web that connects your website, advertising, third-party publications, events, etc. Make it easy to fundraise with hyperlinks in every relevant post.


Learn how to conduct a personalized email nurture campaign

Email nurture campaigns are what businesses use to move customers from “just browsing” to “sold.” Once you acquire email addresses, you can use them to transport prospects along a similar funnel, from awareness to joining or giving. Emails should be tailored to precisely where the individual is in the fundraising process — no one size fits all mailings.


Select the right payment gateway and processor

Once you’re ready to start accepting digital membership or donation payments, how will it work? If you don’t already have pathways in place, you need to figure out how to get money from donors to your bank account.


Consider alternative strategies

It’s okay to be creative and think outside the digital fundraising box. Some alternative ideas include:

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising
  • Crowdfunding
  • Online auctions
  • E-card memorial donations
  • Contests
  • Merchandise sales
  • Special giving days

The goal is to leverage technology to best serve your association.