10 Ways to Supercharge your Online Fundraising


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Most online fundraising begins and ends with email. The vast majority of donations made online are in response to an email from the charity asking for a donation.

But many charities are skipping simple steps that can seriously boost response to email fundraising appeals!

Are you pre-populating donation forms, or making your prospects and donors re-enter their address every time they donate? Does the branding on your landing page match the branding in your email? Or do you use a generic landing page for all donation appeals? (Don’t worry, we’re here to help!)

Join Engaging Network’s Ghazal Vaghedi, Humane Society International’s Elise Ledsinger, and Care2’s own Eric Rardin for a deep dive into tactics that you can use today to quickly improve results from your email fundraising appeals.


-Ghazal Vaghedi (Head of Market Development - North America, Engaging Networks)
-Elise Ledsinger (Manager of Online Fundraising, Humane Society International)
-Eric Rardin (Senior Director of Nonprofit Services, Care2)

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  • Example of HSI seals petition on Care2
  • HSI next action page on Care2
  • We also did a blog on Care2
  • Example of our welcome email – combined with a survey
  • This was our survey
  • segmenting leads to targeted messaging and more personalized communication, which yields to higher levels of engagement
  • Example of HSI Canada branded vs HSI Global branded, customized salutation
  • Make it easy for people to sign up to your list!
  • Use facebookapi (seals no longer live, so grabbed this one)
  • Each year, we use a new seal image for the masthead but keep it consistent across all channels
  • We created mobile versions, dynamic links so forms could pre-populate, used EN to host all assets – fully integrated campaign
  • 10 Ways to Supercharge your Online Fundraising

    1. Ways to Your Online Fundraising Campaigns Presented by: Ghazal Vaghedi – Engaging NetworksElise Ledsinger – Humane Society International Eric Rardin – Care2 @care2team | #c2webinar
    2. aboutCitizens use Care2 for: Starting or signing petitions Nonprofits use Care2 for: Volunteering Donating $ Recruiting Donors & Supporters Spreading news Traffic/Branding/Awareness Commenting on blogs Starting group (organizing) Advocacy Joining nonprofits Building Facebook fan base
    3. about our speakersGhazal Vaghedi, Head of Market Development (N. America)Engaging Networks -overseas business development and overall account mgmt -past work with Hayes & Associates (event fundraising) and Refugees International (fundraising, advocacy, events)Elise Ledsinger, Manager of Online FundraisingHumane Society International -manages online, new media fundraising, and communications -previously an Online Producer for HSI, creating online content (emails, donation forms, action alerts)Eric Rardin, Senior Director of Nonprofit ServicesCare2 -advises on email acquisition and multichannel conversion -past work on integrated advocacy campaigns for oceans groups and other environmental nonprofits
    4. Begin with the end in mind: Lead with a thoughtful strategy, and set goals to measure successBefore the tools, comes strategy Determine your fundraising goals Put your content (e.g. story) at the heart of your strategy Brand your campaign Determine your marketing plan Determine your audience segments Make sure your strategy includes other channels
    5. Begin with the end in mind: Lead with a thoughtful strategy, and set goals to measure successHSI goal for seal campaign on Care2: acquire new names and convertthem into donors. On Care2, we did a petition, Next Action Page and ablog post. Our approach was based off what performed well for us in2011. Target countries: Canada (70%), EU (15%), UK (15%) Rate per name: $1.50 USD Total Care2 acquisition budget: $6,000 USD for 3,750 names Also spent $375 for 3,750 impressions on Next Action Page (NAP) 4,666 names delivered Average cost per conversion = $1.29 We had a campaign goal of raising $400k for HSUS + HSI (based off of previous years‘ earnings)
    6. Perfect your welcome seriesDon’t take new supporters for granted, engage andcultivate with a welcome series Use e-mail triggers to automate an engagement process over a certain span of time – beyond just an automated thank you Makes sense for new donors / new sign ups Educate supporters on your mission Provide options for engagement Segment your welcome series based on channel Allows you to build your donor community by adopting ―customer service‖ manners
    7. Perfect your welcome seriesPlan your online marketing strategy early! We started planning 4 months ahead of the campaign startSend out welcome series in a timely fashion oncethey‘ve taken action on Care2 We did a 3-part series: welcome/survey, appeal, and thank you Sometimes we‘ll do a welcome email, survey, appeal, and thank you (it all depends on the timing of how long the campaign is running and when we receive the names from Care2Engage your audience We combined welcome email with a surveyFollow up with a donation ask and a thank you email Always make sure to thank your donors and action takers!
    8. Segment your list(s)Who is your audience? Remember: Consider steering away from Profiling is key to targeting generic messaging for and hence the everyone in your database *channel*: creating supporter Use profiles to automate profiles will help you target segmentation based on different audiences in different transactional, historical, or channels more effectively. For even form data example, your fundraising email list versus your Donor levels should match Facebook page versus your specific asks--a historically direct mail—three different high level donor should never channels translates to three get an ask that is below their different communication previous giving level tactics.
    9. Segment your list(s)We generally segment our list whether or not someone hastaken action, donated, or opened an email For seals, we segmented by monthly donors, 2012 donors, 2011 donors, non donors, and action takers – by using Profiles in ENWe also segment our lists by country so the constituent willsee donation forms/content specific to their currency andcountry director HSI Canada emails to Canadians, HSI UK emails to UK residents, HSI Global emails to all other international folksBe mindful of the emails your new group receives – we keepthem separate from the rest of our list so they don‘t getoverwhelmed with other emails from our organization Suppress this group from all other email communications until the entire welcome series is complete
    10. Use conditional contentConditional content is tied to profiles / segmentsAllows you to send one email to all your profiles, butwill swap in conditional content based on supporterprofileAllows for more personalization based on thesupporter‘s historical interactions with youLeads to higher conversion and engagementSaves you time!
    11. Use conditional contentPersonalize emails as much as possible First name (custom salutation), use dynamic campaign links so the donation form/action alert auto-populates with constituent‘s informationFor HSI -- Canadians get email with HSI Canada logo,signature by HSI Canada director, donation links toCanadian currency Same for UK and global
    12. Grow your listConvert site trafficDistribute content on socialnetworks (widgets!)Make it easy for others todistribute your content (userfriendly share tools)Permission based name buyDistribute through partnerorganizations and blogs
    13. Grow your listAsk people to share your content on social mediaUse share links onall donation forms,action alerts andemailsUse multi-channelmarketing approach(we grew list by1,000 usingGoogle/FB ads)Hijack your homepage with a windowshade or overlay to get newpeople to sign up or donateUse fun, interactive landing pages with imageryUse widget to create Facebook tabs
    14. Unify your branding across channelsDefine a themeBranding helps create broader awarenessBrand your campaign across channels consistently Email Landing page Social networks (brand your widget)Create mobile templates consistent with the rest ofcampaignUse display widgets as part of your branding toprovide social proof of your campaign
    15. Unify your branding across channelsWe used the same masthead and image across allchannels for this year‘s seal campaign Emails, donation forms, and action alerts all had the same masthead image with the [Protect Seals] campaign logo We updated our cover photo on Facebook with the same seal image as well
    16. Consider an incentive Matching gift Limit campaign time Different donation levels tied to different benefits Certain donation amounts get special access to seniorstaff With $1000 donation you will become part of thePresident’s circle
    17. Consider an incentiveWe engaged people by telling them we would provide them withbreaking news, ‗live from the ice‘ tweets, an insider‘s look intomeetings and the opportunity to make a change, and more if theytook action or donatedMonthly donors receive a special monthly newsletter thanking themfor their ongoing supportWe also explained what their giftcould be used for on donation forms
    18. Integrate your email and fundraisinglanding pagesEasiest to do when donation pages are hosted on thesame platform as your e-mail servicePre-populated landing pages lead to increased ratesof conversionIf using dynamic content in the email why not carry itthrough to the landing page for maximumpersonalizationAllows you to track from the time email was opened toform completionCreate mobile versions of your email and landingpages
    19. Integrate your email and fundraising landing pagesWe used EN tohost all assets –donation, emailand advocacy – afully-integratedcampaignWe created a‗splaction‘ landingpage, wherepeople could takeaction, donate, getnews and more
    20. We created a windowshade/overlay on thewebsite to make donating easy
    21. We also created aninfographic,encouragingpeople to learnmore, share onsocial media, anddonate!The ‗splaction‘,infograph, donationforms and actionalerts all linked toeach other oncesomeone tookaction.
    22. TEST EVERYTHING! Test your supporters profiles Test landing pages Test subject lines Test e-mail content Test your ASK A/B test
    23. TEST EVERYTHING!We test everything and use findings to improvecampaign year to yearWe use Care2 often to acquire new names, and havefound this series works the best for HSI An automated welcome email, survey email, appeal (1x if they haven‘t donated, monthly ask if they have given a 1x gift), and follow up with a thank you. Then we integrate them into our list so they receive our other communications
    24. Over the years,we‘ve foundincorporating avideo on a donationform has thehighest conversionrateBig, red submitbutton also hashighest action rateUse catchy subjectlines
    25. Evaluate and optimizeSocial media experts say:"you must measure, listen, and adapt" Create tracking links for all your pages Review your reports for email appeals to measure: Performance (click throughs, what worked in your email?) Conversions for donation landing pages Measuring what works will tell you what you will need to adapt Always listen to what works for you and what works against you Always clean up your list based on bounces
    26. Evaluate and optimizeUse unique tracking/source codes on all links, uniqueto each email, so that you can get more detailedreportsPull email, advocacy and donation reports to seewhich emails performed the best and keep track ofhow you can optimize for your next campaign EN is great because when you use dynamic campaign links, you can easily see which links were clicked the most Our welcome/survey email had a 23% open rate, 22% click thru rate Monthly ask had a 20% open rate, 2% click thru rate
    27. 2012 full campaign report and take-aways for 2013:
    28. 2012 HSI Care2Welcome SeriesAverages: 22% open rate 6.5% click thru rate 2.5% action rate 35 monthly donors $810 monthly, $9,720 annually
    29. thank you! questions? contact us! Ghazal Vaghedi ghazal@engagingnetworks.net @engagingnetwork Elise Ledsinger eledsinger@hsi.org @humanesociety Eric Rardin ericr@care2team.com @care2team