Nonprofit Organizations
Online fundraising tips for nonprofits

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Home | Nonprofits Writing | Online Fundraising

Online fundraising tips for nonprofits.

     Online fundraising is rapidly becoming the dominant form of fundraising for nonprofits. According to the American Express Charitable Gift Survey of 2007, of those who gave to charitable organizations in 2007, one in 10 did so in the form of online donations.

     Internet fundraising allows you to reach a global audience of supporters, remain in constant contact and avoid the high costs of print campaigns. When news travels around the world at lightening speed, you can use the Internet to get the word out about an urgent need—and raise funds immediately.

     If your nonprofit isn’t taking advantage of online fundraising methods—and not just by having that “donate now” button on your Web site—start now!

     Many fundraising campaigns can be effectively conducted over the Internet, rather than with printed materials. This includes using direct email, an electronic newsletter, social media marketing for nonprofits and publishing well-written, optimized content on your Web site and elsewhere on the Internet.

     Advertise your ability to collect online donations. Include your nonprofit’s Web address in all your communications with members and press releases.

     The most important online fundraising tip for nonprofits is also the simplest: Everything you publish on your Web site, or elsewhere online, needs to be search engine optimized if you want visitors to be able to find you.

     Below are some additional online fundraising tips for nonprofits:

Develop your Web site.

          A nonprofit’s Web site must be supremely visitor-friendly. Otherwise, you will lose potential members before they even learn what you’re about.
          Bad Web sites not only fail to draw traffic, but they inspire fewer online donations from visitors. Think about it: Would you trust someone to properly manage an organization—and your money—when they can’t even manage their Web pages?
          This was proven with a Nielsen study, which showed that poor quality nonprofit Web sites received fewer online donations. The study also found that what made the difference in the minds of donors was the quality of the information on a nonprofit’s Web site.
          Donors want to see informative, well-written, engaging articles about your nonprofit’s mission, goals, objectives and work. But even more important—online visitors want to read about how your nonprofit uses its donations and contributions.
          Powerful, compelling articles that tell the stories of how your group is carrying out its mission can inspire more Web donations than anything else. In addition, include these types of articles in email campaigns, or publish them on other Web sites, to further enhance your online fundraising efforts.
          The study found that other Web site “donation killers” include:
  • Poor page and site design with unintuitive organization of information

  • Confusing or incomplete content

  • Poor coordination of local chapter sites with their parent site
          At Hired Gun Writing, our team includes Internet experts and professional writers. We write powerful, original Web-optimized content that answers your donors’ questions and inspires them to give. We can help you design your site layout for a pleasant visitor experience. Contact us to learn how quickly you can start using your Web site to raise maximum support.

Draw traffic to your Web site.

          The best way to attract new visitors to your Web site is by having a high search engine ranking with Google and other search engines. And the way to get a high ranking is by having a Web site full of unique, search engine optimized content.
          An abundance of optimized content simply means your site has a lot of articles on it that are written in the way that search engines like (that is, they are optimized).
          The more online content you have on your Web site—with the proper keywords and expert lingo that your supporters are searching for—the more relevant search engines will deem your site to be. And that means more visitors directed straight to your site. Then, once there, your online content should inform, engage and inspire them to join in your mission.
          If you lack the time, resources or know-how to write optimized content for your Web site, consider hiring a Web copywriter. The professionals at Hired Gun have written for a wide variety of nonprofit Web sites, and are uniquely qualified to produce engaging, keyword-rich content. Our team includes SEO experts and experienced Web copywriters—a combination that guarantees your online content will be attractive to both search engines and visitors. Contact us for more information on our Web copywriting services for nonprofits.

Use email marketing.

          Today, email marketing is a valuable fundraising tool for nonprofits. Effective email marketing helps to keep your current members engaged and informed—and compels new members to visit your Web site, where they’ll be inspired to join your mission.
          Use email marketing to announce an event, share a recent success and call for support.
          The most common form of email marketing is a direct email campaign. Direct email is rapidly replacing direct mail as an effective fundraising strategy. When done correctly, any type of nonprofit can benefit from incorporating direct email into their fundraising program. When done incorrectly, however, email marketing can waste staff members’ time and alienate your supporters.
          Make sure the purpose of every email is clear, and that it quickly and effectively communicates your message. Never bombard supporters with messages, and don’t be a spammer. Try to connect your email to a recent news event, include a new fact or statistic, or relate other useful information so that recipients feel they’re getting something valuable from your email and your organization.
          Email marketing campaigns should include direct links to your Web site, with easy access to the donation and volunteer pages. The subject line of your email is a very important aspect of launching a successful email marketing campaign. In fact, those few words could make or break your organization’s email campaign.
          The subject line should never be more than 50 characters long, and must compel recipients to learn more. It should convey why the recipient must open the message now—instead of putting it off and forgetting about it—and why, once they do open it, they’ll find the contents to be worth their time.
          At Hired Gun, we craft effective direct email campaigns for nonprofits of all kinds. Contact us for more information on our email marketing services for nonprofits.

Use an electronic newsletter.

          Instead of sending out a print newsletter, send out an electronic newsletter. Newsletters in general are a great way to keep your current members informed and involved in your work. Newsletters also help grow your support base by reaching out to potential new members.
          E-newsletters contain all the same information as traditional newsletters, but are sent electronically. Do not send out newsletters too frequently just because you don’t have to make a trip to the post office to do it. You want every newsletter to contain valuable information and special stories, so recipients will continue to look forward to every issue. Include news updates, articles, recent successes, photos, member stories, upcoming events, planned giving information and calls for support.
          Always include convenient links to your nonprofit’s Web site with easy access to donation and volunteer pages. Make sure your newsletter sign-up box is clearly visible on your Web site home page.
          If you plan to publish your newsletter online, make sure it is optimized to contain the keywords and phrases your future supporters are searching for.
          Hired Gun Writing creates newsletters for a variety of nonprofits. Contact us to learn more.

Use social media marketing.

          Social networking sites like MySpace, FaceBook and Twitter, to name a few, can provide a rich pool of potential supporters. Indeed many businesses and nonprofits are now using social networking sites to promote their organizations through social media marketing.
          If one of your staff has experience with social networking, they will be able to help you as you enter the world of social media marketing for nonprofits.
          After you’ve selected a network (or networks) to join and established your group’s profile, start attracting “friends.” The content you post will need to be eye-catching and edgy to create a “buzz” and get people to pass around your articles.
          Update your social media pages regularly, and post bulletins and notes on other users’ pages to spread the word about important happenings and drive traffic to your page. Devote time every day to accepting new friends, posting comments, and inviting others to become friends.
          Remember—even if your progress is slow at first, social media marketing is about getting the younger generation involved, and building a large base of supporters who’ll help you raise more support in the future.
          If you lack the time or resources to coordinate your social media marketing efforts, a Hired Gun professional will manage your accounts. We will regularly update and disperse original content about your organization, send out notices of upcoming events and build your network. Contact us for more information on how you can grow your nonprofit using social media marketing.

           See samples of our work for nonprofits.

           Read the next article: Grant funding for nonprofits.

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