Guest Article: Taking online fundraising to the next level, by Evelyn Wolf

by Evelyn Wolf, of

Online fundraising is a tough job these days. Not only is it becoming harder to engage with donors but fundraisers and marketers are drowned by a multitude of tools and channels. To be present on all channels is an impossibility even for larger teams. So how can we effectively fundraise online and, in fact, take our efforts to the next level?

Laying a foundation for success before taking action

A strong foundation to your online strategy consists of two elements:

  1. Your supporters and their journey

In any organisation, for profit or not, we often hear that it doesn’t matter who it is, as long as they donate (sign up or buy). While many organisations have started to work with segments, these can still be very broad. The largest segment used today is women aged 25 – 45. Take a second to think about the one message that would suit all of these women. Tough, right?

A strong foundation is based around what is called a persona and how they make decisions to donate (sign-up or buy). These are profiles of the 3-4 types of people who are most likely to support your organisation. The profiles dive into demographics but more importantly aim to unearth the underlying reasons as to why this type of person would support you. The profiles allow you to tailor your message and understand on which channels and at what time to engage with this type of person. For example, if your supporters are mainly mothers, you’ll want to be concise in your message, perhaps work with SMS or Messenger and aim to engage after 9pm when she has a moment to concentrate and check her messages. So although it may feel like you are reducing your large target segment, you are actually increasing your chance of engagement and ultimately conversion to donation.

  1. Your goals

It’s not all about the journey in fundraising. The tools and channels only guide us. Without a concrete goal in mind, however, our journey become directionless.

Your online marketing / fundraising goals should be based around measurable and attainable metrics. Working backwards often helps:

  • Our goal is X number of new supporters each month
  • In order to get X number of new supporters we need to have Y number of new leads each month
  • In order to get Y number of leads each month we need to drive Z number of visits to the website

Measuring in this way allows you not just to quantify your online success but also pinpoint where you need to focus your effort. If, for example, you are not generating new leads (i.e. people who are interested, are known to you but haven’t donated yet) it’s time to look at whether you are driving enough people to your website through your social channels and SEO.

A focused online strategy vs individual tools – Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is based around the two foundations we just discussed. Once these are in place you can build a strategy that focuses on how to attract visitors to your site, convert them into leads, close them into supporters and delight them into becoming ongoing supporters and promoters of your cause.

Have a look at the methodology here:

While tools are listed (you can see SEO, website, blog etc), the focus remains on driving the right traffic (i.e. the person most likely to support you) to your site and converting them into becoming an active promoter.

It sounds a little like digital, right? Yes, to an extent. Digital marketing often means focusing on a channel and not on how that channel supports your goals and your supporters. This difference means that over the past number of years inbound marketing has seen a tremendous growth and yields better results than digital marketing.

Learning inbound

Here’s the good news, learning how to build an inbound marketing campaign and strategy isn’t rocket science. It’s simply about elevating your existing digital marketing and fundraising skills to the next level.

BusinessBrew has built an inbound marketing online course that will be helpful for anyone wanting to refresh their knowledge or those who want to build their first inbound marketing campaign.

The course comes with over 7 hours of course content, taking you through 8 modules, a virtual goodie bag to support your efforts as well as a personal office hour that you can take for questions or even have us review your inbound campaign. Take the classes at your own pace, complete the tasks after each module and end up with an inbound campaign in hand at the end.

Because Digital Charity Lab is all about supporting non profit organisations in becoming stronger in the digital space, BusinessBrew would like to offer a 50% off coupon (EUR 49.50 instead of EUR 99.00) to the first 10 members signing up to the course. Simply follow this link to learn more about the course and complete the signup process. At payment stage you can enter coupon code IRISHCHARITYLAB to avail of your discount.


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