We offer some advice to help charities avoid digital fundraising mistakes
There are a number of mistakes that we find charities tend to make, and opportunities they commonly miss, when approaching their digital fundraising.
Are you making any of these errors? Then it could be time to rethink your digital fundraising strategy.
This is the big one. As we explained in our webinar with marketing experts Acquia, personalisation is one of, if not the most, powerful marketing approaches of the last few years, but one that is under-utilised by many charities.
Email is an ideal starting point – segmenting your donor lists allows you to build better relationships with current donors, get them to take a desired action and move them through the ’funnel’ to the next step, by sending them content that is relevant and specific to them at the right time.
Charities can split their email lists into groups based on factors such as how long they’ve been supporting, what their interest area is, whether they’ve volunteered or attended an event, whether they’ve lapsed in their communication, and demographic and location information.
It might sound like extra work, but segmentation can be a fairly simple way of increasing engagement with your fundraising communications by recognising that not all donors are the same. And once you have figured out how to split your audience and the journeys you want them to take, emails and other communications can be automated.
While we’re on the subject of personalisation, it’s surprising how many charities lapse on this crucial step when designing their fundraising journeys.
Having a thank you page and sending out an automated thank you email to a donor after they have given is all part of building a valued relationship with them that could mean the difference between a one-off donor and an ongoing supporter and advocate for your cause.
A recent study from the Institute of Fundraising found that charities need to put more thought into this stage of their communications strategy, showing appreciation in different ways depending on where the donor is in the funnel.
A common mistake charities make is not mapping out the clear path to their donate button or sign-up form.
You need to test whether it’s confusing or easy to donate. Having several competing calls to action on the same page, or unnecessary obstacles between your user and the donate form or button, are examples of poor user journey planning that could cost you dearly.
Ideally, a donation button needs to be part of a website’s top navigation bar and always visible, preferably in a different colour that catches the eye.
And, whatever you do, don’t forget to keep mobile users in mind.
In 2019, mobile accounted for over half of web traffic worldwide. If a visitor becomes frustrated while attempting to make a donation to your organisation on a mobile device, they will leave your site without giving.
It’s therefore now important to any successful online fundraising strategy that your website is mobile responsive (resizes according to the device being used) and that you have tested how users interact with it across popular devices.
Small things can be off-putting for mobile users. Do the pages load quickly enough? Does your site run as smoothly on mobile as it does on desktop? Most users on mobile skim-read – are users presented with a wall of text that isn’t easy to scroll through? Is the page well organised enough and is the text and background contrasting enough for screen users?
The Charity Commission recently found that over half of charities still aren’t adequately telling the public how the charity is meeting its objectives. While storytelling is vital for donors and supporters, it also leaves charities missing out on the opportunity to engage new ones.
Effective digital fundraising uses the stories of beneficiaries, involving them to help tell the story of your impact. Keeping it tied to the people you’re helping and their personal stories is all part of including the ’why’ in any fundraising that will cultivate connections and educate donors on your cause.
Thankfully there have never been more creative and cost-effective ways for charities to show why their work matters.
This might seem like a small thing, but research shows that it makes a difference. Once you have successfully led donors to your sign up or donation page, the use of a couple of suggested donation amounts on your form, with a highlighted suggested value, makes it easy and seamless for them to take the next step and encourages preferred donation amounts.
This makes use of a marketing called anchoring whereby psychologically people tend to rely on the first piece of information offered when making decisions.