How to Fundraise During the Times of a Pandemic

Soumya Gupta

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April 24, 2020

It’s the year 2020, the world has shut down due to a life-threatening virus that has taken over every corner of the world with no signs of stopping. The only action is inaction: we self-isolate and pray with each passing day that the curve flattens.  

Sounds like an opening for a blockbuster hit, but that is exactly what reality is. It’s a mess, the world has shut off from human interaction, something we took for granted, something I know a lot of nonprofits have always relied on to raise funds.  

The causes you fight for don’t disappear overnight, and there is an unforeseen urgency to fight for them now more than ever, but where do you go from here? How do you adjust to society and maintain the required support needed for the causes you work so hard to fight for 365 days a year, 24 hours a day!  

There is no one grand solution but an array of options you can explore to try find the support you need. This article is to take up the worlds situation as a challenge and rise above by using the online world as your new field of focus to gather the support your nonprofit needs.

The Organic Approach: Creating a Donation page on your website

The rule of thumb to master attaining and (more importantly) keeping the attention of the users on the internet is to keep them on your website as much as possible. Having a donation page or a form on your site that can easily allow donors to support your mission eliminates the need to outsource the fundraising function. Creating a donation page gives you as a nonprofit the flexibility to control the kinds of donations you have to offer, the messaging you want to project and more importantly allows users to explore the very pillars your nonprofit stands on by allowing them easy access to click through your website.  

Does it involve a lot of work? Yes.  

Will the payoffs of the investment payoff beyond the pandemic? ALSO yes!  

At this point you are probably thinking Soumya, where do I even begin! Well my nonprofiter reader, it does not have to be that hard. Following a few steps will give you an idea on how to launch your own donations page on your website.  

Step 1: The Donation page  

  • This is THE page users will be directed to, to make the donation.  
  • It should be a one pager with all the details on where the donation is going, how to donate, how much to donate, and all the other details any donor would need to make their decision to contribute to your cause  

Step 2: Creating the form itself  

  • Making sure you have all the right questions on the form for the donors to fill
  • Every nonprofit might require some additional questions with respect to their compliance, which is why building a form inhouse will give you the liberty to do just that and more
  • Added benefit: with a system in place to collect the data, you will have in house access to the details on your donors characteristic such as their age, sex, country, etc.  The data insights will give you leverage and a targeted audience for your future campaigns  

Step 3: Security is key  

  • Considering donations involve donors revealing sensitive information such as their financial details, it is crucial that you are allowing them to do so using a secure platform  
  • A secure pathway for users to donate will build trust in your donors, increasing the probability of them supporting your causes again
  • Those are the basic requirements to consider when setting up your donation page. Again, because this is something created in house, you really have all the freedom to play around with the looks and messaging of the page.  

Resources that detail on how to create a successful donation page:

Wild Apricot: https://www.wildapricot.com/blogs/newsblog/2019/05/23/how-to-create-a-donation-website

Donor Box: https://donorbox.org/nonprofit-blog/create-a-donation-page/

Cause Vox: https://www.causevox.com/

WordPress Forms: https://wpforms.com/online-fundraising-ideas-for-nonprofits/  

Crowd Funding online

Another way to get around fundraising online is using crowdfunding platforms. These are essentially third-party pages that you create a profile on to get people to donate funds.  

A Warning: There are plenty of options out there, so its best you screen through and determine which platform suits your needs best.  

There are a few key features to look out for to ensure the success of the crowd funding method. Make sure the crowdfunding page:

  • Shareable: You want to be able to share the link to anyone and everyone around, on ANY social media platform.  
  • Editable: You do not want a page with a generic FUND-THIS look to it, you want to be able to dictate the voice and control the story you want to be told about your nonprofit. Make sure the funding page gives you the flexibility to do just that would be key.  
  • NO SNEAK ATTACKS: Mind you some crowdfunding sites are free but majority of them do take some fees. Double, Triple, QUADRUPLE check all the fees that you are can potentially be charged before committing to any plan.  
  • Mobile accessible: To maximize the reach of the crowdfunding page, it is important that you check how the page looks like on mobile applications  
  • Customer support: Especially if you are not too familiar with using web applications, you want to make sure the platform you pick will have great service ready to help you asyou please

Some GREAT websites to get you started are:

FundRazr: https://fundrazr.com/

Fundly: https://fundly.com/

Classy: https://www.classy.org/
https://doublethedonation.com/tips/top-online-donation-tools/

Email campaigning  

Regardless whether you choose to have your own donation page or a crowdfunding page, it can be very beneficial to launch an email campaign to contact your donors. A customized email campaign will give you the opportunity to tell your nonprofit’s story to really connect with the donors.  

Some tips to successful connect with your audience:  

  • Have a catchy subject line  
  • Address the recipient of the email by name  
  • Don’t delay the ask of the email  
  • Always have thank you emails ready to go after receiving donations  

Check these out for some more ideas:

GGIV: https://www.qgiv.com/blog/how-to-ask-for-donations-with-emails/

Classy: https://www.classy.org/blog/nonprofit-email-marketing-9-examples/

Plot twist: Ring, Ring Ring!  

During our webinar Surviving the Pandemic and Beyond the question about how to raise funds while remaining at home was asked to the panel. From the experience of James Topham in War Child Canada, contrary to the experience before the pandemic, phone calls to donors are now more popular than before. Due to the limited human interaction nature of the pandemic, members of the household are more willing than before to have a connection over the phone. It is a great opportunity to get personal and ring up your donors.

Ready yet? Here are some suggestions to supplement your fundraising:

  1. Have a great targeted marketing campaign

No matter which route you take on it is important to note, that your fundraising strategy is only as good as your marketing strategy. The secret to the success of your fundraising is to promote your campaign as much as possible. Establish your targeted audience, learn what convinces them to support your cause and launch a planned and organized marketing campaign  

  1. Aim for Recurring donations

I am sure this is not news to most nonprofits, but just in case, it is important to mention that the most optimum use of time, resources and energy is to get donors to donate reoccurring. This means no matter what method of fundraising you choose, see if there is an automated option for the donations to be made on a weekly, monthly or annual bases.  

  1. Page for objection handling

Fundraising is less about convincing individuals about WHY donors should fund your mission but more about handling the reasons why they THINK they shouldn’t. In person fundraising makes this a little easier because face-to-face interactions allow a two-way communication. It is not the same online. In order to work your way around it, creating an FAQ page where you address the main concerns of your viewers would be most beneficial.  

  1. Let the creativity shine!

It is understandable that some nonprofits do heavily rely on in person events to raise funds and awareness. Social distancing is a huge roadblock to that, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting creative with online and virtual fundraising events. Collaborate with your team and come up with interesting ideas such as online auctions, fundraising challenges, or (my personal favorite), a No Gala-Gala where everyone gets to look pretty and share their stories virtually. Put on those thinking hats and create an event that ties into your cause.  

Remember:  

Don’t be disheartened, this pandemic has been a real test to humanity, but what is amazing to see is how as a collective, we have risen to carry hope and kindness in our hearts. It’s during times like these that people can see clearly how far compassion, considerations and connection can take us. So pick yourself up for you are not alone in this, we are always ready to help if you need it.  

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