Online Fundraising Checklist: Opportunities You Can’t Afford to Miss

There is undeniable momentum in online fundraising as highlighted by data in the Blackbaud Luminate Online® Benchmark Report 2020. One-time online giving skyrocketed by more than 15%, revenue growth from recurring donations outpaced one-time gifts for the ninth consecutive year, and nonprofits increased their revenue and engagement using email fundraising.

Hopefully we will never repeat 2020. So, the real question is: what will online fundraising look like moving forward? Are there 2020 trends that we will continue to see in 2022?

There are a few data points from the Benchmark Report that offer a glimpse into the future of online fundraising:

  • 42.4% increase in fundraising email revenue. Looking forward, large in-person events will be slow to return or reinvented in a hybrid format, which means nonprofits will likely continue to rely on online fundraising, including email, to make up revenue shortfalls.
  • 17.9% increase in email conversion rate. The data shows Blackbaud Luminate Online customers have made great strides in engaging constituents, but new privacy changes implemented by Apple are likely only the start of a new focus on authentic email engagement through clicks and actions. Here’s a great read on the “death of the open rate.
  • 1 in 40 online donors is a recurring monthly donor. Despite a strong increase in one-time giving, recurring monthly giving (also known as sustainer giving) grew by even more – for the 9th year in a row. This trend is unlikely to change.

Dig deeper in Looking Ahead: Find Your Next Big Online Fundraising Opportunity.

Let’s translate these trends into tactics. There are incredible opportunities in online fundraising and this checklist offers direction on how to take advantage of them.

Optimize Online Giving

  • Take your online fundraising beyond email by leveraging other channels like texting, digital ads, and DRTV (direct response TV).
  • Use a mobile online donation form integrated with Google AdWords so you can track transaction-specific conversions to better analyze your marketing efforts and donor acquisition.
  • Use interactions stored in your database – like registration for an event, response to a petition, or engagement with an email – to identify relevant communications and giving opportunities.
  • Include personalization such as giving history, targeted donation amounts, sustainer status, and contact preferences in both your emails and online donation forms.

Boost Email Engagement

  • Ensure you have access to accurate email metrics including click, action, and conversion tracking so that you can determine the success of content, messages, and segmentation.
  • Update your welcome series and existing emails to entice readers to click by linking to longer content, using video, quizzes, surveys, and pledges.
  • Expand your use of email testing to better understand your engaged constituents and determine what interests your audience enough to take an action.
  • Set up email segmentation based on behavior so you can send more emails to people who are clicking or taking action.

Grow Sustainer Revenue

  • Lead with a recurring monthly donation ask in digital ads and email solicitations because it is easier to acquire donors as sustainers than it is to convert them from a start as a one-time donor (but don’t stop trying!).
  • Design a separate recurring donor acquisition campaign to convert one-time donors that includes multiple emails and/or digital ads that show the impact of their continued, regular support.
  • Use analytics to identify the donors most likely to become sustainers and target asks.
  • Ensure your organization is ready for an influx of recurring monthly donors by setting up auto-responders for declined credit cards, implementing software with automatic credit card updater, and enabling donors to update their information in an online portal.

In Looking Ahead: Find Your Next Big Online Fundraising Opportunity, you’ll find even more data and tips to help you strategically position your organization for the future. Without a doubt, data from the Blackbaud Luminate Online Benchmark Report 2020 shows us that organizations who have the people, processes, strategy, and technology in place are most likely to experience success.

Don’t wait for the right time, and certainly don’t wait for 2020 to repeat itself. Use these tactics to take your online fundraising into the future.

Mike Snusz, Rachael Ahrens, and Deb Ashmore contributed to this post.