By Stephanie Tippitt, Vice President, Digital Strategy
Are you tired and inspired all at the same time? If you work in marketing and fundraising for nonprofits, you probably understand this feeling after the busy Christmas + Year-End fundraising season! As we begin 2023, and look ahead into what’s coming this year, it’s important to consider these 5 digital fundraising strategies.
Throughout the pandemic, many nonprofits, including those serving in health and human services, saw large increases in giving that are only now starting to soften. The good news is that though the giving has softened in 2022, for many nonprofits, the levels are still significantly above pre-pandemic giving in 2019.
Given all the real challenges in the market today (inflation, supply chain issues impacting direct mail costs, and decreasing donor confidence), how do we maintain donor giving, donor engagement and net revenue moving forward into 2023?
The digital fundraising strategies that work best for individual nonprofits will vary, but I’m sharing a few I hope get added to your marketing plan for 2023.
1. Engage income and giving diversity
Nonprofits can look for income diversity by finding new ways to raise funds and not simply relying on current channels.
Consider, for example:
- Employer Match programs. Depending upon the platform, a matching gifts widget can be added to your website or donation page, like this example from Rockford Rescue Mission.
- Corporate partnerships can be another valuable program in your development toolkit. For example, Buffalo City Mission does a great job featuring their partners on their website.
- Selling merchandise or other products to promote your organization.
- Legacy and tribute fundraising. Christianwill.org is a great resource and an easy tool to offer donors on your website to help them get started.
- DAFs, Crypto, Real Estate Property. An increasing amount of donors are willing to give outside of cash contributions. The San Diego Rescue Mission offers a thorough description on their website of how donors can get involved. The Giving Block is another great tool to consider for these expanded ways to give.
Nonprofits can offer giving diversity by looking at their donation forms and making sure they offer donors all the ways they may want to give: via credit cards, EFT (bank transfer), Paypal, digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay) and non-cash payments like stock and crypto. Also, be sure to include the option on your donation form for donors to pay your processing fees – often up to 75% will self-select this option!
2. Use multi-channel marketing
What is multi-channel marketing? To put it simply, multi-channel marketing is integrated, consistent messaging across all channels, both online and offline.
When done correctly, it will create the multiple impressions needed to motivate a donor to take action for your cause. Over the last 2 years, the digital fundraising landscape has changed, making it harder to find new donors and track their interactions across channels. So, it is more important than ever to choose and use your digital channels wisely.
As fundraisers we know the golden rule of marketing still applies – deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. It was true back in the early days of marketing, and it’s still true today.
But how do we do that well in digital? By marketing on the right channel. Layering digital campaigns across multiple channels will help deliver your message to the donor at the right time on the channel they prefer.
3. Get ready for GA4
If you use Google Analytics to track your website data, then you’ve probably been hearing about the next big development on the horizon – Google Analytics 4 (or GA4). This new version of Google Analytics will replace the current version in July 2023. Bottom line, if you use GA, we recommend installing the GA4 property now to ensure you are collecting all the data concurrently.
What are the changes all about, and how will Google Analytics 4 impact your nonprofit marketing? Read here for the scoop!
4. Build a Monthly Giving Plan
The growth in recurring revenue continues to be the most promising metric during and after the COVID years. This increase demonstrates the value of digital fundraising strategies focused on monthly donors across all channels and platforms.
At BDI, we take a holistic approach to this strategy, making sure there is an intentional focus on the monthly giving offer throughout the website, donation page, and all digital channels including owned and paid media.
As a result, monthly giving offers continue to perform well:
- BDI clients have experienced an 113% increase in recurring revenue from 2019 to 2022.
- Recurring revenue was 22% of all online revenue, according to the 2022 M+R Benchmarks Study, but BDI benchmarks in 2022 show that 38% of revenue is coming from recurring donations.
- A Monthly Giving Lightbox that appears on the donation form after the initial one-time gift is confirmed can also help grow your monthly donors. For BDI’s client partners that use this strategy, almost 30% of their monthly donors have come from this lightbox!
5. Optimize your digital campaigns: Run, Measure, Update, Repeat
Digital optimization ideally should be in the regular cadence and process of your digital marketing program. Optimization in this sense is really just continually testing with new creative, copy and offer strategies. Then measure the results, make adjustments to the campaigns, and run again.
Implementing this digital fundraising strategy will continue to improve the overall performance of your digital program. We can’t assume to know what works, and we are often surprised by the results! And, even though you may have tested an offer or strategy in the past, it may be warranted to retest again just to learn if the donor audience responses have changed. The digital channels change constantly, and the digital donor is maturing as well.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the volume of channels, strategies and tactics that can be used in digital fundraising. My strategy is to build from the ground up, making sure each layer of your program is strong before adding in something new.
Do you have questions on this or any other ideas for your nonprofit’s digital fundraising strategy? Feel free to email me directly at email@example.com or visit our Resource Hub for more fundraising tips.