The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

The Perfect Storm for Online Fundraising

The Perfect Storm for Online FundraisingSo you want to be successful in online fundraising? Ready to take 2017 by the reins and make an exponential impact? Well, the first thing you need to know is, you’re gonna have to learn to dance. To juggle the yin and the yang. To bring balance to your Force.

Or perhaps just to cook. Successful fundraising is really about the recipe—that collection of ingredients which creates the perfect storm.

When you begin any venture, creating a new, innovative product or service alone is not enough to propel your company forward. You need to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude, and with the right people.

And it is no different in online fundraising.

Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. How many times has the most “amazing” fundraising appeal been organized with all the latest online bells and whistles, and yet, in the end, it was as if a tree had fallen in the forest with no one there?

What went wrong?!

There are three distinct elements of successful fundraising. And the sooner you master this trifecta, the sooner the “impossible” will be within your reach.

Brand Raising

When you raise funds publicly, you have to realize that with every word, every article, and every image, you are weaving a story. Your brand’s story. And with each point of contact, you have to remind the public, in a creative way, why they should choose you and choose you again. And again.

You have to discover your Coca-Cola “Open Happiness” rallying cry for your organization. “Open Happiness” is just two words, and yet it gets to the essence of why you should be drinking Coca-Cola. And if Coke can do it to sell a carbonated syrup to billions of people, I’m sure that you, impacting lives every single day of the year, can figure out your brand’s rallying cry, mission, and message.

Another favorite: “No One Should Have No One.” The message is simple, true, impactful, and perfectly captures the heart and soul of Age UK.

Don’t be afraid to spend money in order to raise and share money. You may have to start by getting over the Overhead Myth. Read about it in the GuideStar Blog, the Overhead Myth site, and this article. But do it now. The meaning of your life as a fundraiser depends on it!

Crowd Raising

This is probably the most neglected ingredient of fundraising. In order to get the crowd to listen to you, you have to first build a crowd. You need to create an echo chamber for your noise to reverberate across the masses, so that when you do get out there, there will be enough of a critical mass to launch your message.

No online campaign can succeed without cultivating the crowd, whether it’s a room of 20 people making calls, or a party of 100, or utilizing groundbreaking crowd-booster tools like Thunderclap. Check them out. One thing is for sure, if you’re launching a campaign as an intern in the side office of the basement of your nonprofit, chances are you’re not creating enough critical mass for your message to be heard.

Remember, most of the time, online buzz is created by offline busy bees. And it needn’t be a swarm. ...

Friend Raising

Developing a committed fundraiser-donor relationship is no different than courting for marriage. There must be a mature relationship, a partnership, and an investment toward actualizing mutual goals and values. It is never all about you. It’s about each other. Understanding each other’s individual vision, passion, and sense of fulfillment. Success comes after you have nurtured these relationships and proven your dedication both to them and your mission.

I must say though ... I find it really common for nonprofit staff to be afraid to make the ask because they don't think they've done enough outreach or finessed the donor enough.

Keep this thought in mind whenever you are about to do an ask, whether online or in person: You didn’t ask, “Would you like to meet my parents?” before you had a pretty good sense of what the answer would be. The same thing goes with asking people for money. If you don’t feel you’ve invested enough in the relationship for you to pop some big questions, then you probably haven’t. So keep dating, but don’t be afraid to commit. After all, as the saying goes, there are other fish in the sea, and your donor’s money can easily find its way into another ocean. :)

Now that you’ve got the steps, get out on the dance floor and show the world your moves!

The Perfect Storm for Online FundraisingThe preceding post is by Moshe Hecht, @moshehecht, chief innovation officer of Charidy, @wearecharidy, a 360° fundraising solution. Moshe is an accomplished entrepreneur and team leader whose passion lies at the intersection of technology and charitable giving. When Moshe is not at the office, he is writing music and enjoying downtime with his wife and two redheaded boys.

Topics: Donor Relations Crowdfunding Brandraising Online fundraising