We take a look at some of the effective ways charities can grow their revenue stream using digital technology.
While total giving declined by 4.2% in the UK last year, one area of fundraising stood out like a beacon: online giving to UK non-profits bucked the trend, skyrocketing by an astonishing 5.5% in 2018, according to the Charitable Giving Report 2018. So what are charities doing to grow their revenue with digital? 1. Focus on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks have become integral to the lives of millions of people. So it makes sense to ensure you have an effective social media strategy that may include sponsored posts and advertising. The results of a well thought out social media presence can be impressive: 72% of NGOs worldwide agree that social media is effective for online fundraising, according to the 2019 Global NGO Technology Report, and Facebook alone is responsible for raising over £1.6 billion for charities through its social media platform. 2. Find digital match funding. Match funding – where a business or other large organization pledges to match funds raised by a charity – is a highly effective way for non-profits to increase revenue with digital: match giving leads to more people donating and some people donating more compared to regular donations to a cause, according to A Great Match, a survey commissioned by digital match funding platform Big Give. Big Give and other digital match funding platforms help charities access match funds provided by foundations, trusts, and individual philanthropists. 3. Try crowdfunding. Crowdfunding campaigns work on the principal that many people contributing a small amount can result in significant funds being raised for a specific project. Thanks to the power of digital technology they can provide instant feedback to donors in the form of the funds raised to date and how close the campaign is to reaching its fundraising target. Crowdfunding campaigns are only effective if people know about them, so many charities use their social media presence to stimulate interest in a specific project and then direct potential donors to the crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for it.
4. Creating lasting relationships with donors is a sure-fire way to grow your revenue with digital. Get started by fostering on online community on your website or via social groups. Setting up a forum allows discussions, private messaging and other personal communications between visitors. Doing so makes people feel part of something, encouraging one-off donors to become regular givers. 5. Don’t underestimate mail. Sending a letter may seem positively old-fashioned compared to many digital fundraising techniques, but the effectiveness of direct mail can be huge. What’s surprising is that direct mail can also increase online donations by 40% or more, according to Dunham and Company. That’s because direct mail can work hand-in-hand with online fundraising techniques by making it easier for recipients to make donations. For example, adding a scannable QR code – or just the web address of a crowd funding campaign - to direct mail materials means that donations can be made in seconds from a mobile phone before the impact of the mailing diminishes. 6. Craft your direct emails. While direct mailings are costly to design and print, direct emails are almost cost-free – but paying a little bit of extra attention to the subject line can make them much more effective fundraising tools. For example, three word subject lines are statistically far more effective than ones with seven words – the most common length – according to SendGrid, and subjects containing the words "yesterday" or "tomorrow" are better spurs to action than ones containing "today". 7. Start a viral campaign. Social media platforms like Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram make it possible to spread the message about a project or crowdfunding campaign around the world to millions of people using a suitable hashtag. Although hard to carry off, if they are successful – like Cancer Research’s #nomakeupselfie campaign – viral campaigns can be phenomenally effective. 8. Use a Donate Now button. Digital fundraising works because it can reach the right people and target them with a call to action – and there is no simpler or more effective call to action than a Donate Now button on your website, email or Facebook page that just needs to be clicked or tapped on.