The current U.S. administration’s rampant changes to laws have been getting a lot of media attention, which has also had the effect of boosting online donations. In fact, nonprofits usually see donation spikes for 72 hours after major press coverage. For instance, recent changes to immigration policies have put the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the spotlight, which has resulted in huge donation spikes.
Another trend that nonprofits are seeing under President Trump’s administration is what some are calling “outrage giving,” or when online donations come flooding in because donors are fired up on a certain topic. A great example of this is when folks thought a budget proposal would cut funding for Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels typically received around $1,000 a day in unsolicited online donations, but when the budget news broke, they received more than $160,000 in just a few days.
Your organization or cause can quickly become the subject of unexpected media attention, so make sure you are armed with the best digital marketing strategies when it does. Here are a few tactics to consider ahead of time:
#1. Optimize for Mobile or Risk Becoming Irrelevant
When donors see something on social media or in their emails, they are likely reading it on a smartphone; therefore, when they feel motivated to give, it’s critical that your organization’s donation form have a secure and fast mobile checkout experience. According to Dunham & Company, 25% of donors say they have already used their smartphone to give through a charity’s website, and that number is growing! If your site’s donation form isn’t mobile-compatible, you might be making it difficult for your donors to support you.
How can your nonprofit organization ensure that your donation forms work on smartphones and tablets? The answer is mobile responsive design – a way of building a webpage so that content and images are automatically sized to the screen size you’re browsing on. Responsive design is why some webpages look great on both your smartphone and your laptop. A lack of responsive design means that a web page might look fine on your computer, but squished and unintelligible on your smartphone. A design that looks good on smartphones won’t slow down donors and avoids lowering your conversion rate.
For nonprofits, email is the top converting online channel, and most emails are read on mobile devices. Every time you send an email appeal, make sure the “donate now” button leads to a mobile responsive donation form. This ensures everyone will be able to give, no matter what device they’re using to read your content.
Not sure if your donation form is mobile responsive? Do a periodic check at the office to see if your donation pages work on different devices. Get your staff to see how they look, preferably across a range of smartphone models or tablets. Don’t forget to fill in the forms and click through as far as possible.
Big Tip: The majority of your followers on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are also reading your content on a smartphone. Anything that a charity posts on social networks must be accessible for mobile browsers, or you run the risk of lowering your call-to-action’s conversion rate.
#2. Email Segmentation Sets You Apart
According to the 2016 M+R benchmarks study, email marketing accounted for more than a third (34%) of online revenue for the top 25 nonprofits. Yet in a digital age full of online noise, effective email marketing can be tricky.
Segmentation is essential when communicating with your donors. It allows you to send potential new donors and repeat donors relevant messaging.
Effective segmentation and personalization goes beyond including a donor’s name in your email content. For instance, if you have a pool of loyal monthly donors, does your email asking them to sign an emergency petition include messaging that recognizes their incredible support so far this year? Generic messaging is less persuasive and leaves donors feeling like they’re just one of thousands on your mailing list.
Maximizing the persuasive power of your content is crucial for charities and nonprofits because your supporters are increasingly choosing to respond to donation requests by email. The Dunham & Company study above found that the percentage of donors motivated by an email to give online has jumped 40% since 2015!
When you unexpectedly find yourself in the limelight, make sure you are able to email the right supporters quickly – even on a weekend.
Big Tip: Make sure your donor management platform allows you to generate relevant supporter lists quickly and easily from any location! When you have important news to share, you may not have the time to wait until Monday morning to get your e-blasts out.
#3. Instagram Has The Eyeballs
Facebook is still a huge driver of donations, but Instagram hit the 700 million users mark and is projected to have a billion users by the end of this year!
Perhaps more crucial than number of users is the amount of time spent on the platform. Instagram users aged 25 years and over now “spend more than 24 minutes a day” on the app. That’s a lot of potential for your content to be seen, shared, and acted upon!
If you work for a nonprofit, expand your social footprint to include Instagram – after all, if you find yourself in the limelight, you’re going to want to already have a presence on the platform.
As with any fundraising effort, you don’t want to jump right in and immediately start asking for donations. Wired Impact suggests that you attach a solid story to every Instagram post you make, and to “tell the part of the story a visitor would never know from looking at the picture.”
Instagram isn’t just about photos and captions – the platform also allows for live-streaming and uploading videos as well. It’s a good option if you want to create more dynamic content to really help tell your nonprofit’s story. The live-streaming feature can be used to broadcast your events or activities, telling your audience what’s happening as it happens. Here’s 5 things your charity can do with live-streaming right now!
When you have something important or time-sensitive to communicate, put resources behind it to boost it! According to the 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report, 34% of NGOs worldwide have paid for advertising on social media.
Big Tip: You already know that Facebook can boost your posts for a fee – Instagram can do the same thing. Target your sponsored posts at specific demographics, reaching the right audiences with your messaging. If your cause is in the news, place a sponsored Instagram post and use the appropriate hashtag to catch attention from potential supporters on the app. Instagram advertising has a variety of useful call-to-action items you can use to drive traffic to your donation or petition pages, including “Sign Up” / “Learn More” / “Donate Now” and more!
As Content and Social Media Manager for FrontStream, which powers the online fundraising of more than 10,000 charities and nonprofits around the world, Caitlin Hotchkiss covers all the best and latest news and tips for fundraising success. With many years as an online influencer, she works to stay ahead of the trends by keeping one eye on upcoming online tools and the other on established favorites, spreading the good word of charities and nonprofits across the digital landscape. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org