Acquiring Digital Donors

Ann Fitzgerald President AC Fitzgerald author

Ann C. Fitzgerald, President

Online gifts amount to about 10% of all dollars donated to nonprofits, according to Network for Good Digital Giving Index. But there is no question that the digital donor is here to stay and will represent a larger percentage of nonprofit revenue in the coming years.

Here are some ways to develop digital donors:

  • Be mobile-friendly. More than half of web traffic comes through mobile devices. In addition, mobile-friendly sites rank higher on search engines.
  • Is it worth it? Give visitors a reason to share their email addresses. Can you offer a special download or a subscription to a newsletter?
  • Utilize online advertising to attract new donors. Try banner ads, social media and SEO to increase interest in a key program or special event.
  • Improve your donation page. One study found that bigger fonts lead to bigger gifts. Keep your giving page simple and functional, but visually connect it to your nonprofit’s brand through the use of pictures and images.
  • Change it up. Don’t just email people when you need money. Vary relationship-building messages with fundraising appeals. Take advantage of the sense of immediacy that email offers.
  • Take advantage of #GivingTuesday. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become the international day to give back. Critics say that it distracts from other fundraising, but giving grew 52% last year compared to 2014, according to Blackbaud.
  • Don’t give up on direct mail. Use direct mail to encourage donors to give through multiple channels.
    • Gather those email addresses! Multi-channel donors have the highest lifetime value, so give your donors plenty of reasons to provide their email addresses. Include a line on your reply form for this purpose.
  • Collect data. Some studies show that digital donors tend to be younger and more affluent. Develop a profile of online donors and map their behaviors and giving patterns. Analyze the messages they respond to most, which emails receive the highest open rates and the times of day that generate higher responses.
  • Think about text messages to donors…but use them sparingly. Texts have a 99% open rate.
  • Make the online appeal the first step in a lifelong relationship. Digital donors need to be thanked and engaged like donors acquired through the mail or any other channel.

If you’d like help acquiring more donors, please contact us.

Ann C. Fitzgerald is Founder and President of AC Fitzgerald, using her decades of experience in fundraising, management, leadership, and sales to help nonprofits build their capacity and achieve success. She is a sought-after speaker, writer, and advisor.

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