Online Fundraising: Best Tools & Practices for Nonprofits

September 17, 2015

Online Fundraising: Best Tools & Practices for Nonprofits

According to, charitable giving grew by 4.9% in 2013 due to online giving. Another even more telling statistic is that millennials are reported to give an average of $481 to charitable causes annually, most choosing the option to give via their mobile phones on social media.

More nonprofits are embracing the idea of engaging supporters online for charitable donations to their organization. There are many proven tools nonprofits utilize to aid in their online fundraising efforts with great results. Here are 4 key online tools nonprofits should be using, as well as some best practices for fundraising success!

#1 Tool: Your Website and Social Media Network

Best Practice: Create a “donate” button on every branded page  of your organization’s website. Website and social media networks are powerful hubs when used wisely and can attract significant donations for an organization. Engage supporters on social media by consistently updating website content and sharing the information on available social media outlets.

Example: Facebook’s recently unveiled “Donate Now” call-to-action button for nonprofit brand pages.

#2 Tool: Text to Donate Services

Best Practice: Remember, millennials spend an average of $481 per year on charitable giving from mobile devices. Text to Donate is a tool best used when your organization is creating a fund-raising campaign that typically requests small dollar amounts from  donors.

Example: The American Red Cross’ Text to Donate campaign for Haiti Relief in 2010

#3 Tool: E-mail Marketing

Best Practice: Get Personal! E-mail marketing is probably the most important tool for any nonprofit.  Ever successful nonprofit fund-raising effort has a quarterly newsletter sent via e-mail (and additional versions in a .pdf and .jpg format to maximize sharing) to a mailing list of supporters and donors. Newsletter highlights about donors coupled with tributes are highly impactful. Let donors know about all the great work accomplished with their donated dollars! Be sure to include a “Donate” call-to-action  within each newsletter and encourage existing donors to give even more!

Example: MailChimp for Nonprofits is the preferred e-mail marketing client for over 200,000 nonprofit organizations. The platform is simple, user and mobile friendly. MailChimp offers free and paid (discounted) plans for nonprofits. Another great option is Constant Contact, which offers up to a 30% discount for nonprofits with a prepay plan.

#4 Tool: E-Commerce

Best Practice: Another great way to raise money online is by offering clever merchandise. Create a great product(s) related to your cause that supporters will enjoy and which generates a buzz that fuels giving. Merchandise sales can be a great fundraising campaign on its own or done in conjunction with other functions and fundraising efforts.

Example: is a site that allows you to design and sell your nonprofit merchandise with no upfront cost.

Whatever your methods to encourage giving, always remember to be consistent in message, grateful for any size donation, and open to new ideas for reaching willing donors.

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