Fundraising is an integral and complex part of the non-profit industry. In the pre-Internet era, traditional fundraising methods like direct mail and events ruled supreme. Today’s non-profits are fortunate in that online fundraising strategies are not only easily available, but quick and effective as well.
Online fundraising is the process of raising money for your organisation via the Internet. But how exactly do you get money from the public online? And what are its advantages over traditional fundraising?
Online fundraising vs. traditional fundraising
There are many benefits to online fundraising over traditional fundraising.
- Unlike traditional fundraising, online fundraising is not limited by geography. An online fundraising campaign can reach people across the world, anywhere there is an Internet connection. This means you can attract more new supporters and increase awareness of your organisation.
- Online fundraising is more cost-effective, faster and easier to implement. Setting up an online campaign is less expensive than organising an actual event and takes less manpower. A single person can set up an online campaign, plus a couple more people to monitor and promote it. A direct mail campaign or an event takes more people and more money to execute.
- Potential donors have the convenient option of donating via PayPal or credit card. Traditional fundraising usually involves cheques or bank deposits, both of which take more time and effort for the donor.
- Accounting is also easier for online fundraising if you accept credit card payments. When the donations come in, online donations can be automatically credited to your organisation’s bank account. The bank will have a copy of all credit transactions, which you can easily refer to when making an account of all donations. With traditional payments, you will typically find yourself with cash, cheques, or both, which you then have to count and deposit to your bank account and maintain accounting records for.
- You can make your online campaigns targeted and personalised to increase your chances of getting donations from people. Online fundraising makes it easier to tweak your message to appeal to specific groups of people.
Types of online fundraising campaigns
Before you click ‘Post’ on your appeal for funds, you have to make sure that your organisation is ready for online donations. This means that you must already have an online account, a platform to receive online payments, and tech-savvy people who can monitor the campaign and the donations. Your website must be updated, and so must your social media accounts.
- Online campaign via website or social media. For fundraising campaigns online, you need to craft a persuasive and compelling message that will not only attract people, but push them to donate as well. You have to have a story that people will find interesting enough to click on, read, and want to be involved. Include stunning visuals, like high-quality images or even video, to accompany the story.
- Email campaign. This is the online version of direct mail. Emailing people is free, but there are paid email tools that will allow your mailing list to be more organised and send newsletters to thousands of recipients at once. Here, you can make your email more personalised, as if directly addressing the recipient.
- Crowdfunding. This is one of the newest forms of online fundraising, where you post your project on a crowdfunding website. People who want to help implement your project can make a donation until you reach your financial target. The crowdfunding site charges a nominal fee. There are many such websites on the Internet, and they all have different pros and cons, so do your research first.
In any online fundraising campaign, be sure to have a compelling call to action at the end that will lead people to the right page if they want to donate or learn more. Online fundraising is a good method to raise money.