It’s never easy to ask someone else for money, especially if you are new to the process. But whatever the strength of your cause or campaign platform, there comes a time very early on when seeking donations becomes a top priority. In the physical world, donations are sought with speeches, handshakes and meaningful exchanges. The digital world requires a somewhat different approach. The ideal fundraising strategy is one that combines real-world interactions and events, social media, and an online donation platform such as Raise the Money. Whether or not a comprehensive donations strategy is in the budget, online donations will be important. These donations are generally smaller but much less expensive to get. When you are ready to ask for online donations, here are some tips to get you started.
1. Gather as much data as you can.
Knowing your audience is a key component in asking for contributions. If your organization has ongoing social media activity, use those exchanges to get a sense of your audience. If your cause or campaign is absent on social media, remedy that today. Pay attention to the language in any user responses. Finally, use social media analytics tools to help break down your audience demographics and track what types of posts are most successful. For example, Raise the Money’s “Campaigns” feature lets you track user engagement and, more importantly, user conversations. We also have a very helpful Facebook plugin that you can learn all about in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u8L02oJ5rA). Know immediately what works and what doesn’t, and use this data to consistently craft the right message.
2. Ask for a specific amount.
When asking for donations, it is very important that you do not force the potential donor to do the work. Ask for specific amounts, and create a multi-tiered contribution system where donors can simply choose a set amount and make an immediate donation. Incentivizing these levels of participation in a way that encourages donors to give a little more can only help. Is there special merchandise that could be reserved for larger donations? More importantly, are there real world events to which you can invite larger donors?
3. Generate social engagement.
Filling your social media pages with sales pitch after sales pitch is a very good way to lose your audience. Instead, add content that inspires users to engage. Ask them questions. Ask them for advice. Getting your audience to engage is about more than money, but it certainly helps when seeking donations for your audience feel as though they are on the same team. When everyone feels as if they are working together, and your fans feel like part of your plan, donations will follow.
4. Never be annoying or aggressive.
Remember the debacle surrounding Maddi’s dollar? Such an outcome is what happens when you are too aggressive in your fundraising efforts. Gathering information and creating an electronic mailing list is great, but the effort is wasted if you come on too strong. Asking too often will annoy your audience, and it can make your finances seem in jeopardy if your message sounds desperate. Lead your audience to the door, and let them open it.
5. Be ready for success.
When the donations do come in, you should already be prepared to process, track and report those donations. Pairing your social media efforts with a solid web-based solution for processing donations is paramount. Raise the Money is one such platform that offers powerful tracking tools for understanding and involving your donors. Simply embed Raise the Money software on your website and you have everything you need to collect. The rest