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5 Digital Fundraising Trends to Know

Samantha Hunter
Published:  01/13/2021
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Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

It’s no secret that online giving is critical in fundraising campaigns. In 2019, online giving grew by 6.8% across all industries and by 7.1% in healthcare specifically, according to the annual Charitable Giving Report by Blackbaud. This trend has been consistent over the past eight years and likely won’t slow down.

What may be surprising is that online giving is the most preferred donation channel by all generations compared to mail, social media, and texts. While it’s true younger generations prefer more technologically advanced channels, older generations are almost equally as likely to prefer online giving. This means that digital fundraising tactics should be front and center in your campaigns.

Here are five digital fundraising trends to know from Beth Hatcher, Principal and CEO of Beth Interactive.

1. Campaign Personalization

Make fundraising feel personal, even if it isn't. Highly targeted, multichannel campaigns make it easier than ever for donors to give. Dynamic content, particularly within emails, is an excellent way to make communications feel personal to the recipient. Think beyond just, “Hello (insert first name here)." Try to include something about the donor’s unique giving history, maybe their cumulative giving amount, or send them something on their giving anniversary.

You can also send personalized emails to a patient from their physician. Create a grateful patient campaign where the patient gets a thank you email from their physician with a picture, a quote, and email signature. These types of campaigns make the patient feel like their doctor is making a one-on-one connection with them.

2. Audience Segmentation

When you think about your digital communication strategy, it’s important to know your audience and to tailor your message to them. To do this, you should segment your audience into groups like donors, grateful patients, and employees. You can go a step further and break them into subsegments, like donors and employee donors.

This lets you track not only how engaged each group is but you can also see what messaging resonates best by looking at email opens, click-through rates, and opt-outs. The data shows what resonates best so you can speak effectively to each audience.

3. Peer-to-Peer Campaigns

Another trend gaining momentum is peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. The idea of Giving Tuesday isn’t new but organizations can create individual giving day campaigns for donors to share directly with their network. This lets you reach people that you otherwise would miss. What better way to make communications feel more personal than to have a friend or family member be the one reaching out?

4. Multichannel Targeted Campaigns

Think about borrowing tactics from another industry. In retail, you’re used to seeing pop-up messages, banner ads, and specific emails based on your activity. Adapt those targeted multichannel campaigns to fundraising. You can add a specific message for donors coming back to your website for a second or third time. Or you can include a simple pop-up message that reiterates your organization's message to encourage them to make a donation.

Another way to take it to the next level is by adopting the “abandoned cart” messaging. You can solicit donors that have expressed interest but didn’t convert with a message encouraging them to complete their gift. The message can focus on educating the potential donor on why their gift is so critically important for your mission.

5. Making Giving Easy

Now, this isn’t new but it might be the most important tactic, make the donation process simple. Often fundraisers get caught up in the logistics of processing a gift, sometimes at the expense of the donor experience. It should be extremely easy for a donor to give, and they should feel amazing after they do.

Think about how to best use technology. There are some great online fundraising platforms that only require one or two clicks to give through a website or mobile. It can be as easy as a donor texting their gift amount and receiving a receipt via text. Email can pre-populate information into a donation form to reduce the time spent filling it out.

There are cool innovations like making donations through digital wallet options like Apple and Google Pay. Donors can donate through internet-connected TVs and billboards. It’s important to keep your donor in mind though and to not get swept up by the “cool factor” of new technology. If your audience won’t use it, then you shouldn’t invest in these channels.. 

A successful digital fundraising strategy doesn't happen overnight. It's important to start with the basics and then build on them. Make sure you set a strategy, test it, evaluate the data, and make adjustments based on what’s successful.

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Meet The Author

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Samantha Hunter
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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