Sophisticated developments in digital technology over recent years really do mean that the world is our fundraising oyster.
Digital campaigns and processes within a professional fundraising environment allow a charity to reach donors quickly and for relatively low cost, but it can come with a downside.
Whether you’re new to digital fundraising or you’ve been following a digital strategy for a while and looking to grow in this area, there are some common mistakes frequently made within digital fundraising which may impact income, relationships and – perhaps most importantly – the integrity of data.
Here are some common digital fundraising mistakes, and how you can rectify them today!
Failing to onboard correctly
When someone shows interest in a charity, a strategic onboarding process can easily lead them from the first contact to becoming a lifelong supporter.
They may have given their details to enter a completion online, signed up to receive a regular newsletter, or requested some information about a campaign. These are all key actions from potential supporters, but many charities make the mistake of failing to implement a structured communication strategy that will build strong relationships from the outset.
How to rectify: Rather than send one email and leave the new follower feeling like they’ve been thrown into a big black hole, design and automate an email sequence which automatically sends at specified times. Whether you choose three, five or seven emails, you can slowly but steadily build rapport and lead the new supporter on a journey that ends with a donation. Once a supporter has taken an action (for example clicking links within the email or donating), automate the process so they move onto another mailing list that provides ongoing engagement.
Overusing contact lists
While an email list is convenient and cost-effective, it shouldn’t be used ad hoc to raise last-minute funds or awareness of a campaign. Overusing the list will create donor fatigue and puts your data at risk as recipients increase their requests for removal.
How to rectify: Design a structured email campaign at the start of each year or quarter that incorporates all significant fundraising events (such as Giving Tuesday) and includes any planned appeals. Of course, things crop up which can’t always be planned for and in these cases consider removing those from an appeal list who have recently given.
Failing to personalise correspondence
Donors should always feel like they’re hearing from a friend. Sending generic mailings has the opposite effect and can lead a donor to feel like they’re support isn’t appreciated or properly acknowledged which can make them question whether to give another gift.
How to rectify: Transfer the recipient’s name from the database, refer to previous donations, locations and specific projects given to. Make sure data is cleaned regularly to avoid duplicate contacts and ensure that all fields are completed accurately so that donors always receive correspondence truly personalised to their relationship with you.
Confusing landing pages
Sometimes a donor just wants to make a gift, but some landing pages can make that extremely difficult in one or more of the following ways:
- Failing to include donate buttons
- Not explaining how donations will be used
- Providing too much information that overwhelms the website visitor
- Not providing a phone number to answer immediate queries
- Not providing a solid call to action
This can easily cause someone to give up or try again later which as you know, may never happen.
How to rectify: Create a structured website layout that initially tells a visitor what you want them to do. There should be a clear ‘donate now’ button as soon as they land on the page along with an introduction to your charity.
You can also recommend donation amounts and give an opportunity to subscribe to monthly giving but without overwhelming the website visitor. If you make it too hard for them, they’ll leave the site more confused than ever, and probably won’t be back!
Failing to segment an email list
While it’s no secret that new email leads are gold, they should all be categorised when uploading to the database. Contacting someone who has visited an event and speaking to them like they’re a long-term donor or vice versa makes you look unprofessional and will instantly leave a bad taste in the mouth of any supporter.
How to rectify: As part of the onboarding process, create lists and upload all contact information to the relevant list. This will help identify those who are donors, prospects or just interested in your newsletters. This can also be segmented further by donor groups such as major donor or corporate partner so you can add specific paragraphs unique to the results of their donations. Segmenting in this way will offer supporters and followers a truly personal experience that will encourage them to keep on giving.
Digital fundraising is developing and it’s important that charity systems are progressive and sophisticated to keep up with the current demands of your supporters.
To find out how SupporterHub can help you avoid common mistakes, enquire about our free trial today.