It’s important to keep all relevant staff and volunteers in the loop with what’s going on in your organisation. If you have a multi-author website or even just higher up members who want to be updated on published content, having a communication channel alongside your website is hugely useful.
Our choice: Slack
Even if you aren’t (yet) a user, you’ve most likely hears of Slack. It’s been praised by the likes of JustGiving as a top time-saving tool for charities.
Slack is a tool on which you can have multiple channels to informally communicate with colleagues or associates. It’s perfect for if you have employees or volunteers who work remotely as it allows you to communicate freely about smaller or more real-time issues than you may over email. The conversations are also easy to search back through if you need to double-check anything.
An example of application would be if your website had a blog that was written by multiple people who need to discuss content. A built in Slack channel means that the relevant people can casually communicate ideas and changes to each other whilst the work is being done.
Beyond this, there are additional WordPress plugins such as Charitable which allow you to connect your Slack channel with your donation page. This way you receive a notification whenever someone makes a donation. This is great for smaller organisations who want to track this in real-time and see when the donations are coming in.
Last but not least, Slack offers a Charity-specific price plan that offers you all their Standard Edition capabilities for free. This applie s for teams of up to 250 and offers video calling, screen sharing and 10GB of file storage for each member.
An effective e-commerce platform can be a great way to spread word about your organisation and increase donation-potential. As a fundraising initiative, selling charity t-shirts, badges, bracelets etc. has been a popular choice for a long time. An e-commerce platform connected directly to your website is a great way to make sure you see return on investment, by broadening your audience and making it easier for them.
Our choice: Shopify
Shopify is one of the most popular options for charities and small businesses alike for it’s ease of use and trust-worthy reputation.
The platform enables you to fully customise your online store, manage huge quantities of inventory and offers great analytics for tracking sale trends. This means you can have a highly professional and secure platform for donors and adjust it over time to give the best possible customer experience.
One of the key reasons this has made the list, of course, is because of how well it integrates with your website chosen payment gateway and accounting software to make each step of the transaction process work seamlessly.
There are over 70 payment gateway options available to allow you to accept both credit and debit cards. Additionally, it integrates with QuickBooks Online so you can keep your accounting data up to date.
The platform is marked as level 1 in terms of compliance with the Data Security Standard. Security is a huge consideration when choosing an e-commerce solution as it builds a stronger sense of trust in your website, and in-turn your organisation overall. A high security ranking like this puts both yours and the users mind at ease.
We’ve published a case study in the advice & guidance section to help show how Shopify is working for other charities right now.
Connecting your email marketing with the activity on your website is an essential for a strong marketing strategy. Tracking behaviour effectively means you can optimise the potential donor or subscribers experience and benefit your conversion rate too. You can automate something as simple as sending a thank you for donating!
Our choice: Charity Digital Mail
We assure you this isn’t just because its a Charity Digital offering; this is a genuinely top-of-the-range email marketing platform at a price charities can afford.
Capabilities: The platform offers enterprise-level functionality taken from Dotmailer, as well as its user friendly drag-and-drop interface. This means that even time-constricted or short-staffed organisations can produce highly professional campaigns. You can use templates already available or create your own, adjust to your branding and include calls to action.
Additionally, you can set up automation flows so that your campaigns are sent out seamlessly based on how your subscribers behave. This is a useful feature for things like double-opt ins for newsletters or sending thanks for donations. We’ve written a separate article with more info on this which you can read here.
Charity Digital Mail also allows you to store high numbers of contacts without increasing your payments, giving it useful dual functionality as a CRM. You can segment contacts and store multiple address books so that your emails are only reaching who you want them to reach. You can then schedule or ‘optimise’ sending, which sends the email at a specific time depending on the recipients behavior.
Once all is sent, you can then track the success of your emails with extensive reports that show your open and click-through rates, which links were most popular in your campaign and, if you did any split-testing, which performed better.
Price plan: Instead of charging you for contacts (as many email marketing platforms do), you are charged only for the emails you send. This means if you have a quiet month with no major campaigning, you don’t have to incur the same costs.
If events are a big part of your fundraising strategy then a good platform to spread the word is essential. Alternatively, you might be a small charity looking to spread the word about your organisation and network with like minded people. These platforms allow you to plan, promote and sell tickets for events you are running, whether this be a big fundraising concert or a small support group.
Our choice: Eventbrite
Eventbrite offers an effective, well-known and straight- forward platform for you to manage every stage of an event from planning to orchestrating. Features include:
- A customisable event page
- An in-house payment processor which allows debit, credit or Paypal
- Real-time tracking of ticket sales
- Access to support 24 hours a day.
Additionally, you can also get a WordPress plugin that means you can have your event information on your website. From here, people can get all the information they need and book a place at the event.
This easy integration is great for reducing risk of drop-offs. People aren’t immediately sent to another site so are less likely to change their mind in the process.
In terms of pricing, the cost to post is free if the tickets are free. This is great for a lot of charity fundraising events as it encourages people to attend and you can then have donation stations, activities or services at the event to get your donations.
Once you start charging a ticket price, you will then incur a small Eventbrite charge, though this can often be included in the ticket price as a cover. Better yet, you could be eligible for £200 of Eventbrite credit if you’re a new user. Click here to check it out on Charity Digital Exchange.
It’s widely known that sharing your users reviews is a good marketing move (assuming you’re worth a good review). People are more likely to trust others more than you as they have no reason to falsely advertise your organisation. Creating this trust between charity and potential donor is crucial for progression.
Our choice: TrustPilot
TrustPilot publishes reviews of online businesses so that you can search for s specific business or charity and see what others think of them, if they’re genuine and if the user experience is good. It gives you the option to respond to users, should you need to defend yourself from an inaccurate review, however reviews are not taken down in the spirit of ethical reviewing.
With trust always a prevalent issue in the charity sector, being able to put your donors or even beneficiaries at ease is so important.
You’re fully able to integrate TrustPilot with your site, and can have your overall review embedded on you site. Many organisations choose to have it either on their donation page or their footer throughout their site. This makes it as clear as possible to potential donors that you’re a trustworthy charity.
Luckily for charities, the service in its simplest form is completely free. You can begin collecting reviews as soon as you sign up. They do offer paid plans that start at £149 per month, but these go beyond just feedback to promotion.
For this article the email marketing platform example used is Charity Digital Mail. This product is available on the Charity Digital Exchange platform, offering enterprise level email marketing at an affordable cost for charities. Find out more here
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