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The One Strategy That Will Grow Online Donations for Your Organization

The One Strategy That Will Grow Online Donations for Your OrganizationGoogle announced that they now process more than two trillion searches a year.  That number even surprised the Google experts when it was announced.  What that number means to your organization is that every day there is someone searching for you.  Are you showing up online when they come looking? 

With the volume of searches still increasing every year, online donations have a major upside and potential for growth. Online donations can be greatly increased by starting with one very traditional strategy, defining and targeting your donor prospects.  Marketing in the digital world is, at its core, the same as traditional direct marketing.  You’re making some sort of offer to someone and asking them to take the next step. When you target those prospects with something they find valuable you will get amazing results. 

Targeting your prospective donors well will make your online donation generation levels explode.  So here’s how to get started defining your targeted prospective donors for online marketing. 

How To Define Your Online Donor Prospect 

You want to get to know who your ideal online donor prospect is and develop a profile of that person so that you know what problems you solve for them, and why they choose to donate to your organization.  These profiles are often called personas. 

The persona document is a living breathing document.  You’ll make some initial assumptions then adjust the persona over time as you learn more about them. 

Start off by getting your leadership team together and do a brainstorming session about who your ideal donor is.   

Here are some of the questions you should ask and answer about your ideal donor prospect.  If you don’t know for sure go ahead and put down what you think the correct answer is. 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geography
  • Education
  • Do they have a relative who benefits from your organization’s work? If so,
    what is that person’s relationship to the donor?
  • Why do they choose to donate to your organization versus a larger organization?
  • Why do they choose to donate to your organization versus a smaller or similarly sized organization?
  • Why do they donate to charity in general?
  • How likely are they to donate AND volunteer?
  • How likely are they to donate multiple times?
  • How do they donate now? Online, mail a check, donate to fundraiser, etc. 

After your leadership has gone through this exercise, you can take all of the questions that you asked and survey your staff and volunteers. You can see if they think in a similar way about donor prospects as the leadership does.  If you find many differences between the two groups, it’s time to dig deeper and find out more to solidify your thinking. 

The last step is to survey past donors.  The best way to do this is to pick three or four questions that you think will deliver the most value.  Those questions can be around subjects where, internally, you have received divergent responses or they can be subjects that you’re mostly sure of but just want some verification from actual donors. 

You can do a written, email, or online survey.  But really, the best way to do this is over the phone.  Keep it short. Most people are very happy to participate because they want to help your organization.  As donors, they are part of your organization and they do feel a small degree of ownership, so they are happy to help further. 

Once you have a finished targeted donor prospect persona, make sure that you use it when you are creating promotions to try and generate online donations.  You can even give your persona a picture and a name.  That way when you develop other personas you can differentiate between them.  Different personas need different solutions and are motivated by different subjects. 

How To Leverage Your Online Donor Personas For More Donations 

It is imperative that each persona gets marketing content that meets their specific needs.  So you want to ensure that you are thinking of needs of the persona through each step of the marketing process.  

For example, if you are using Google Ad Grants for donation promotion, your ads and keywords should be focused on your donor persona.  If you have two donor personas, one corporate and one individual, the keywords and ad copy should be very different for those groups. 

Then consider the landing page that you are sending people to when they click on an ad.  First you should send people who click on a donation ad to a donation page.  If you just dump them onto the home page, they’ll have too many options and distractions, and it will be harder to get that donation.  When you send them to a donation landing page, you can focus everything on that page on getting that donation. 

But when your personas have different needs they should go to different donation landing pages. Offering pages that meet different personas’ specific needs will definitely increase the conversion rate for your donation pages.  Plus Google loves when your landing page reflects what you said in your ad.  When the lading page and the ad copy fit together well, Google gives your ad a higher Quality Score, your ads get better placement, and you get more clicks to your landing page. 

The process of getting your ideal donor prospects defined and your marketing efforts fine tuned for each audience will move the needle in your online donation campaigns more than any other factor.  It’s often enough to increase your online donations by 10 times or more. 

The One Strategy That Will Grow Online Donations for Your OrganizationDon Seckler is founder, CEO, and chief strategist of Peak Inbound Marketing. He has more than 25 years’ experience in traditional direct response marketing. He has also been a digital marketer since the beginning. Don was one of the first to use Twitter, Facebook, and Google AdWords. He was in the trenches as the web came to life in the mid-1990s and has been developing and executing successful digital marketing campaigns since then. Don has worked in TV commercials, on the Seaside Heights New Jersey boardwalk, and once roadied for Cheap Trick. 

Topics: Online Donations Online fundraising Donor Segmentation