Best Practices in Sustainable Online Nonprofit Fundraising
Given that there was no solid preexisting information on the public domain to address all the issues needed in question, I took best practices from online fundraising, sustainable giving, and fundraising targeting youth to come up with a list of best practices that overlap all three categories. The short version of the answer is that attracting attention through SEO tactics and social media advocacy, increasing donor motivation, transparency and accountability through regular participation, staying connected with the millennials and always remembering to say thank you are the best practices in sustainable online nonprofit fundraising, based on the stressed importance of these practices as is explained below. A brief highlight of the "Trump Bump" has also been duly detailed in this research.
1. Attract attention through SEO Tactics AND SOCIAL MEDIA ADVOCACY
The use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click advertising and paid boosting of social media posts to reach your target audience is one of the most-talked about practices for sustainable online non-profit organizations. This is mostly done by giving the donor a tempting offer, largely through the use of targeted digital ads such as Facebook Ads, Google AdWords and prompted tweets. Such Ads often appeal and entice the donors, prompting them to visit the targeted website. This way, donor attention increases while the traffic to the targeted website increases as well.
It is important to note that, content on the Ads should be tailored to fit the audience's needs. In order to maximize the organizational goals, it is important to have engaging content in order to lure the donors. For example, if the Ads are targeting young people and small donors, the information should be tailor-fitted for them in terms of content such as flashy advertisements that grab their attention. Organizations can also encourage discussions and social media advocacy by taking advantage of powerful social media platforms such as the Facebook Videos, Twitter hashtags and Instagram posts that are popular among young people.
2. INCREASING DONOR MOTIVATION
Donor motivation can be increased through authentic and clear storytelling--channeling the messages in ways that convey the values, goals, challenges of your organization, and how donations from your donors will help that cause, or better yet how much is needed from each donor to help with the cause. A simple way to convince donors on a monthly commitment is to reassure the donors of why the recurring donations are needed and the impact they have on the organization's missions. By boosting donor motivation and involvement, the donors not only stay updated but they are also able to contribute monetarily or through valuable ideas, which in turn leads to an increase in the number of contributions to the site.
3. TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH REGULAR PARTICIPATION
This sustainable practice entails empowering people to act on your behalf through clear--and preferably regular--online donation processes, participation in online giving days, using crowd funding tools and leveraging peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities. Such processes will often involve the donor going straight to the website in order to find more details. And by doing so, donors will have some form of guidance for the online donations while championing your agendas through their regular participation. For instance, going to the website will assist the young and small donors to understand if there are any third-party entities or endorsers sponsoring the organization. Also, donors will understand if the resources donated to the charity are being handled correctly, along with other related issues like privacy policies and ethics that are very fundamental for the sustainable running of online/digital fundraisers. Additionally, donors will be more relaxed if they understand the organization's privacy policies and are assured that their donations/information are protected. And through such processes, transparency, honesty and accountability is encouraged, which ultimately contribute to the sustainability and continuity of the non-profit organizations.
4. STAY CONNECTED WITH THE MILLENIALS...
Today's generation, particularly the millennials, thrive on staying connected and updated about just about anything and everything. To ensure that your organization isn't left behind, ensure that you connect your online efforts to offline events, which will help you to resourcefully tap into the millennials' desire to be part of the cause beyond the money they give. In order to make young donors participate even more actively, the organization should design ways in which these young people take part in committee decisions, pay-to-play events and so on. If an organization fully involves the donors successfully, then the results will be a passionate group of young people who will be incessantly driven by a sense of duty, which will motivate them to do even more in the spirit of giving. The use of social media can particularly be useful here, with forums such as group chats providing great options for conversations and updates.
5. NEVER FORGET TO SAY THANK YOU!
Donating funds, creating time to participate in activities and supporting non-profit ventures calls for a lot of sacrifice, especially from the young people and small donors who often have an endless list of things to do or needs for their time and money. As a non-profit organization, it is therefore extremely important that you never forget to say thank you and make it clearly known to the donors that you appreciate their sacrifices. And as far as being grateful goes, don't just say thanks; instead, optimize your "Thank You" process and tell the story of what the fundraising efforts have accomplished. Many of today's non-profit organizations usually have “Thank You” landing pages on their sites to ensure every donor is accounted for. By telling donors success stories, the challenges faced and the impacts made, donors not only feel appreciated, but they also stay updated about everything that is going on at the organization. And, in turn, this motivates further participation as they continually strive to do even better to fulfill the organization’s mission statement.
OTHER COMMON BEST PRACTICES
-- Show donors how to approach business contacts
-- Encouraging donors to create a team of fundraisers
-- Holding contests where donors participate
-- Segmenting donors. For instance, monthly donors could be contacted separately from the one-time donors
SPOTLIGHTING The "Trump Bump"
Donald Trump’s new presidency seemingly propelled the fundraising and philanthropy agenda in America. Soon after his election, there was an unprecedented rise in donor organizations, spreading to all facets of the nation, from civil liberties to social justice initiatives and even women's health. According to Michele Moore, the ACLU raised "roughly $3.5 million" in a normal year and added a few thousand members to its roster. But four months after the election of Trump, "the ACLU increased membership, from about 425,000 to 1.6 million." It was noted as the fastest growth ACLU ‘s history. Despite these notable changes after Trump’s inauguration, current reports indicate that the philanthropy fire is going down for both Democrats and Republicans. This attributed to the country's shaky economy, which has seen most people become more conservative as far as donations and philanthropies are concerned.
Non-profit organizations face a lot of pressure to generate profit in order to support their vital work. The organizations are constantly faced with limited resources, limited time, figuring the years budget and so on. To add on, there is the challenge of working with donor groups, considering USA has five donor groups from 21 years and above. However, by implementing the best practices that have been highlighted above (and tailoring them to the ever-changing needs and wants of the young people and small donors), the sustainability of the non-profit organizations will be greatly encouraged.