5 Tips for Making the Perfect 'Online Ask' to your Donors

You won’t get anywhere in life if you don’t go after what you want. And your nonprofit won’t grow and accomplish your mission if you don’t ask for donations.

Making donation appeals is vital to any nonprofit’s success, but with the ever-changing technological scene and the pervasive nature of the internet, your organization can’t afford to ignore online avenues as a way to raise more money.

Adapting to new technology and finding fresh ways to reach donors and prospects is what will propel your nonprofit forward and help you accomplish your mission.

If you’ve got questions about making the perfect online donation appeal, we’ve got the answers!

Take a look at the following five strategies that will help you perfect your online donation appeals.

1. Forge your online and offline strategies

Before you dive headlong into the deep end of the online fundraising pool, it’s important to remember to use your existing strategies in conjunction with your online tactics. You have to learn to swim with water wings before you can start doing laps around the Olympic-sized pool.

What does this mean practically for your organization?

It means that whenever you host a fundraising event, you’ll want to encourage attendees to give on an online donation page or via text-to-give.

It means that you should mention online giving during your in person meetings with donors.

It means that whenever you send out a direct mail appeal, you should include a URL for recipients to follow if they want more information.

Basically, integrate your online appeals into your existing offline fundraising tactics. Not all of your donors will want to move all of their charitable giving activities to an online platform, but those that do will appreciate knowing how they can give online.

Check out this ultimate guide to nonprofit fundraising to get even more inspiration!

2. Spruce up your online donation page

Online donation

Once you let donors know about giving online, you have to make sure that their online donation experience is meaningful and worthwhile, and, more importantly, that it makes them want to donate again.

Your online donation form should have certain components that create a great online giving experience for your donors.

These characteristics include:

  • A clean layout that does not distract donors away from the page.
  • Multiple ways to donate online.
  • A small introduction that tells donors what their donations will be going toward.
  • Different donation levels.
  • Security certificates and logos.
  • And more.

Your online donation page can either make or break your online fundraising efforts. You can’t bring in that extra revenue if your online donation form is driving folks away!

3. Look to your past success

Just like past giving is the best indicator of future giving, so too is past fundraising success an indicator of future fundraising success. 

If you are just getting started with online donation appeals, you obviously won’t have much of a past to look to. But you can still implement the same offline fundraising strategies into your online tactics and meet with success.

Practically, this means:

  • Maintain your sincerity. When you make in-person appeals, you are likely being genuine and sincere with your donors. Sometimes, online fundraising can result in a perceived lack of sincerity. Keep that candor when fundraising online.

  • Be ready for answers other than “yes.” Not every donor, online or otherwise, will want to donate when you ask. Learn to regroup and offer other ways to engage with individuals.

  • Acknowledging past involvement. If a donor has given their time or money before, you’ll always want to mention it in your online or offline donation appeals.

Look at your past offline fundraising successes to inform you of the best practices for online donation appeals.

4. Make everything mobile-responsive

These days, more and more people are accessing their favorite websites on their mobile and tablet devices. While many are still surfing the web on desktops and laptops, people are using their smartphones and iPads to connect with their friends, family members, businesses, and nonprofits.

How is your organization responding to this growing trend?

One way you can show up on donors’ phones and tablets is to make your website and donation forms mobile responsive. When people are able to give on the go, they will be more likely to do so time and time again.

Additionally, your nonprofit can offer text-to-give as a way for your supporters to contribute to your cause. With text-to-give platforms, your donors can give using the same technology they use to communicate with their friends and family members. 

When you make your website and donation form mobile responsive and use text giving as another fundraising tactic, your donors are able to support your nonprofit in more convenient ways than ever!

5. Say thank you

Arguably, one of the most important components of making a donation appeal is remembering to thank donors for their contribution.

You’re likely already saying thank you whenever you receive a donation from your other fundraising sources. Don’t forget to acknowledge online contributions as well.

Because online donations can create a sense of distance between a donor and an organization, send out more tangible acknowledgements to your online supporters.

Try mailing out a thank you letter to your loyal supporters. Maybe send a postcard that reminds them of an upcoming advocacy event you’re hosting. 

However you choose to reach out to online donors after they give, make sure that you thank them for their contribution and give them examples of the work their donations are supporting. 

Making the perfect donation appeal online doesn’t have to be a mysterious process. In fact, if you follow these five tips, you’ll be more than prepared to start asking for and collecting donations online.

This guest article is by Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.

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