[Beginner - 104] 5 Ideas for Your Online Fundraising Campaign that Will Help Your Nonprofit Marketing Plan

The Internet has become the number one place to market a business or an idea, and in 2014, 86.75 percent of of people are Internet users, according to data published by Internet Live Stats.  To take advantage of the large audience that’s reachable through the online world, hundreds of people use the Internet for marketing everyday, ranging from business owners to bloggers. If you’re a nonprofit organization, you need to be using the Internet for online marketing as well.

If you’re hoping to raise some money or awareness about your nonprofit’s issue, putting together an online marketing plan is key. For some great campaign fundraising ideas for your non-profit online, check out this how-to guide:

1. Embrace the Idea of Marketing

It’s not uncommon for nonprofits to feel uncomfortable with heavy marketing; rather, they’d much prefer to set up a donation page on their website, cross their fingers, and hope for the best. Marketing seems pushy, and way too egocentric. As such, those in charge of nonprofits tend to shy away from it. Not only is marketing not inappropriate for you to engage in as a nonprofit, but it’s also absolutely essential to raising money for and increasing awareness about your cause. Remember that marketing is a tool, and when used correctly, can be a tool that contributes to the greater good; marketing is about persuading and convincing people, not manipulating or tricking them; and marketing is efficient.

The quicker you commit to the idea of marketing your fundraising campaign, the better.

2. Tell Your Story

When raising money, it’s important to give donors and potential donors a reason to care. While you may be passionate about raising awareness about Elephantiasis, chances are most people haven’t even heard of it, and if they have heard of it, they probably don’t know much about it. In addition to presenting the facts of the issue, tell your story: explain to people what you’re fundraising for, why the cause is important (this is a great opportunity to incorporate real-life stories), and what each donation will go to and why a person’s donation will make a difference. The more you can present donors with something they can relate to and connect with on a personal level, the more likely you are to be successful in your marketing efforts.

3. Use Social Media

Social media is key in your nonprofit marketing plan, and if you don’t use it, you’re missing the opportunity to connect with thousands of potential donors. In fact, 73% of adults use social media daily, providing you with the perfect opportunity to get the word out like never before. Make sure that you’re using social media—including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+--to post updates about your campaign, fundraising goals, interesting facts or pieces of information about the cause, great photos and videos, and more. Additionally, your social media page should be linked to your website, and vice versa. The donation “Thank You” page on your website should always have a button to “share” through social media. Using social media can also provide you with a creative outlet, and can be a great place to host challenges, contests, surveys, and more.

You should also keep a blog, and on that blog, you should talk about the fundraising campaign, personalize the blog and the campaign by adding pictures and anecdotes, and remember that the more you share your site, the more success you’ll have.

4. Seek Out Online Fundraising Tools

Part of your nonprofit marketing plan should include doing some research about online fundraising tools that can help you meet your goal. Here’s a quick list of some great websites that can assist you in raising money and awareness and help make your campaign fundraising ideas become a reality:

GiveForward.com—While this website requires a small commission fee to set up and operate your fundraising campaign, it gives you a great way to connect with people through Facebook, tell people about your causes, and encourage others to set up mini-campaigns for your cause.

Chipin.com—This is a cool widget that allows you to track your fundraising goal, free of charge. The widget taps into your Facebook page, blog, etc. and helps to convert traffic to your site into donors.

Outbrain.com—Outbrain can help with driving more traffic to your site, distributing your content to a larger audience, and even creating content that will resonate with a larger audience.

Online tools that allow you to connect with more people, track your efforts, and create great content are what you should be looking for when investing time in an online fundraising tool.

5. Avoid Nonprofit Marketing Plan Mistakes

If you’re doing all of the things mentioned above, you’re on a great start to a successful fundraising campaign. However, it’s important to keep that momentum going by avoiding big mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes that nonprofits make was already mentioned—failing to include a “share” button for social media sites on their donation “Thank You” page. Equally as detrimental is failing to include a social media “share” button in the email that’s sent to a donor thanking them for their contribution. In both instances, you have the perfect opportunity to increase the visibility of your campaign—seize it! In addition to having a button that allows donors to share your page and announce their donation to the online world, another great idea is to have a thank you video that is on the donation page or in the email sent to donors. Videos are a great way to connect with donors, and to remind them exactly why it is they’re donating. Finally, the last two big mistakes that nonprofits make is failing to create a site that’s easy to navigate, and failing to put the “Donate Now” button up front and center. If a potential donor can’t navigate through your page, chances are they’ll give up before making a contribution.

Fundraising through the online world is pretty straightforward, and is all about engaging with your audience in a meaningful way. If you can create a story that inspires people, connect with them through social media, utilize creative techniques for campaign fundraising ideas like challenges or competitions, rely on the help of online fundraising tools, and avoid big nonprofit marketing plan mistakes, your fundraising campaign is bound to make a splash.

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