Digital Fundraising Strategies for Charities
Fundraising is not only a key source of income for charities, but it is also an opportunity to engage with members of the public on issues they care about. For many charities, creating an effective digital fundraising campaign, that successfully engages with your target personnel can be a challenging prospect. But fear not, we’re here to help! Below we’ll explore some key fundraising tasks and suggest some initial strategies to hopefully achieve success in digital.
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Lottery activity can work exceptionally well, which has caused them to become increasingly popular across larger charities. We know the market is extremely competitive, therefore In such a crowded space, it is crucial to allocate spend wisely.
The priority for allocating budget should be Paid Search, as this provides the best Return on Investment (ROI), by targeting people who are looking to play a lottery at that moment. Think of personas such as ‘Lottery Liz’.
Liz has very predictable online habits and her browsing habits are mainly based around fashion sites and online newspapers. She regularly takes part in charity lotteries with her friends. Her first interaction with the activity could come through Display Advertising on sites such as dailymail.co.uk. She may not click on these ads, but when she sees paid search ads for your charity when looking for a new lottery for her friends, she’ll remember the ads she saw and decides to investigate more.
Both Google Paid Search and Bing Paid Search can be utilised in this strategy. In addition, display marketing should be employed to raise awareness of the product during key periods, such as a Superdraw or Christmas draw. Although the CPA on the awareness side of the activity will be high, the increased awareness should drive an increase in searches and therefore improve Paid Search results.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) would also prove effective for long term revenue generation. Start with an initial website crawl or a more thorough technical audit, then prioritise tasks to improve website performance, which will also have knock-on benefits to the other activity.
Deciding to leave a gift in your will is a long process, with users unlikely to commit on their first few visits to the site. However, continued updates and content based on what your charity does in a broader context together with well-timed asks should help convert this audience. Successful campaigns are reliant on attracting users by having relevant and engaging content with a strong call to action to find out more.
Based on our research, we have identified a target online consumer for legacy giving – ‘Giving Gordon’. Gordon uses the internet to look up sports results and regularly visits the BBC Sport page. He doesn’t use many social media channels, but he uses Facebook to keep in contact with his children. He worries that his affairs are not in order, and the death of his mother has spurred him to consider writing a will. He doesn’t know much about the process, and so searches for a guide to writing a will online. Whilst browsing Facebook, he notices an ad for a free downloadable will guide from your charity. With a strong connection with your charity, he downloads the guide and it gets him thinking about leaving a gift in his new will to the charity.
For this type of activity, the majority of investment should be focused around Facebook advertising. This is because Facebook allows for careful targeting around people who have just experienced specific ‘life events’, which allows you to target users in line with our research. Other channels should include both Paid Search and SEO. By providing high quality content supporters would be encouraged to stay engaged with your charity. Then through automated marketing and email, they can be up sold to the free will writing service at the appropriate time.
Fundraising events are a great way to engage supporters and raise revenue. An effective marketing strategy for challenge events should drive sign ups, predominately by using a combination of paid search and bursts of display activity and Facebook Ads. In addition to this, both existing content and new content, along with automated marketing, should be utilised to aid these channels in increasing event sign ups and to provide value to those that sign up to your fundraising events.
Based on the research we have conducted, we have initially created the following example personas based on the people we believe are most likely to sign up to your charity’s fundraising events.
‘Event Ellie’ spends a lot of time on Facebook, sharing links to her fundraising page and encourages others to sponsor her while sharing the work that your charity does. In the lead up to the event, she posts updates on her training regime. When the event is over, she updates her photos from the big day.
‘Challenge Colin’ spends plenty of time on events forums reading about others’ experiences, sharing his own stories and looking for the next crazy challenge he can take part in. He regularly logs into Facebook and likes pages of his friends who take part in events.
Nothing is more effective at driving sign ups than targeting people who are searching for these events, and this is where Paid Search comes in. Although Google Ads is an effective medium for this, Bing Ads can also be successfully utilised as there is less competition on Bing and you can reach a different, yet still relevant audience to increase sign ups.
We would suggest producing banner advertising, firstly to use as remarketing to users who have visited your site, but also to increase awareness and promote events on relevant websites. To save on costs, make use of responsive ads for smaller events.
Finally, utilise email marketing, combined with a continued supply relevant content, to allow your charity to maintain a relationship with users who have downloaded a guide or similar content. They can be encouraged to support your charity through fundraising for an appropriate event through communication when appropriate.
Digital Marketing is a very effective medium for driving donations, both single and regular. Paid search is again, going to be your most effective channel when it comes to ROI, but there is going to be a limited ‘relevant’ reach. So, you will need to couple this with some awareness activity across video, display and social.
As usual, try to identify your target personas. For example, ‘Donation Donna’ is a married mother of two, and her online habits involve visiting online news sites and the national trust page to find her next day trip location. Her children have recently moved out and she has more disposable income, which she wants to put towards a good cause.
Video across social media and YouTube is currently exceptionally cost-effective and combined with its impact and focused targeting, we recommend it as a powerful tool with which to start engagement on fundraising products. In addition to this, social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter should also be used to benefit from their extensive targeting options. Finally, automated marketing should also be used to encourage the sense of community and friendship with the new product.
As always, we’d love to hear more about your own specific strategies, so if you’d like to find out more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
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