Tips & Tricks for Fundraising Online

Each November, our friends at Emmaus House, a nonprofit that fosters youth development and promotes economic self-sufficiency among its neighbors in the Peoplestown neighborhood of Atlanta, sponsor a Thanksgiving at Home program to provide turkeys and groceries to families in the community, so they can prepare and enjoy Thanksgiving in their own home.

Turkeys, of course, aren’t cheap so Emmaus House relies on the goodwill of others to help purchase turkeys for the families in Peoplestown.

In recent years Emmaus House has launched online fundraising campaigns through Indiegogo to raise money to purchase turkeys, and again this past November, they quickly surpassed their goal of $3,500 and were able to provide turkeys to over 350 families!

With the rise of crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo, Kickstarter and GoFundMe, raising money online has never been easier. By taking your fundraising online you can quickly reach donors near and far, and thanks to social media your campaign will have the opportunity to resonate among an even wider base of potential donors.

There are a few tips and tricks you should consider before launching an online fundraising campaign. Here are a few we think are most important:

1. Incorporate visuals.

Thanksgiving at Home 2015 Emmaus House

You’ve heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” When it comes to online fundraising, a picture may be worth a $1,000.

Photos and videos are going to be one of the most important elements of your fundraising campaign. With strong photos and an engaging video, you’ll connect (see tip #2) with donors in a way words can’t. And quality is important — blurry cell phone photos won’t cut it. If you have a budget to hire a professional photographer or videographer, it’s a good investment. Once your campaign is over the photos can be repurposed and used on your website, newsletters and social media.

2. Tell a story.

Connecting with donors is critical for a successful online fundraiser, and one sure-fire way to connect by telling a story.  

For their campaign Emmaus House used a video to share the story of their Thanksgiving at Home program and how contributions to their campaign would help families in Peoplestown. It was short — less than two minutes — and it clearly relayed their objective to viewers.

Additionally, further down on their campaign page, Emmaus House gave a brief overview of the neighborhood they serve; how it’s located in a food desert; and the implications living in food desert can have on families especially during the holidays.   

3. Update donors.

Throughout their online fundraising campaign Emmaus House updated donors and thanked them for their contributions. When they reached 30 percent of their goal after just two days they explained how those contributions would feed 113 families and they continued the updates until they surpassed their goal.

Crowdfunding Update Emmaus House

In one month Emmaus House raised 108 percent of their goal with 75 individual online contributions, 58 first time donors — all by incorporating visuals, telling a story and updating donors on their progress. We can’t wait to see how much they raise next year for this awesome cause!





Posted on June 2, 2016 .

4 Ways to Gather Insights Needed for Your Donor Personas

Emmaus House Volunteers by Green Gate

The almighty donor persona is the cornerstone for any development team’s action plan. The donor persona is a well-rounded profile of your non-profit’s ideal contributor. Each donor persona should include a list of their likes and dislikes, their habits, what type of media they follow. In marketing speak: a donor persona is a document that describes your target audience.

Once you create your donor personas (yes, you can have more than one type of person you’d like to create a donor relationship with), these profiles should influence all of your donor communication and marketing strategies. When you leverage donor personas it allows you to communicate relevant and timely information with the people who are most valuable to your cause. Developing donor personas helps you get to know your audience. When creating any kind of communication email, brochure, ask letter, donation website, or verbal appeals it is best to know your audience and craft what you say especially for them.

How can you learn about your donors likes and dislikes, motivations and challenges? Below are 4 ways to do the research and gather data to build the best donor persona for your organization.

1. Interview staff

Tapping into your internal team responsible for building relationships with high-value donors is a great way to learn more about current and potential donors. Your colleagues are on the frontline when it comes to donor relations, and they’ll have the best understanding of what prompts those high-value donors to continue with their contributions.

When reaching out, other important questions to ask your staff include: What are the demographics of our high-value donors? And, what’s our current process for procuring more high-value clients?

2. Interview donors

Talking directly with a few current donors will help you gain valuable information about your donor base. Interview them about when and how they donate, as well as why they made their donation in the first place. If they are a recurring donor, why do they keep coming back? And if they donated once and never again, ask them why.   Personal interviews allow you to capture the kind of rich feedback that can’t be obtained from co-workers, data mining or surveys.

And when you better understand the ways in which these donors are giving – or not giving – you can curate better donor experiences.

3. Mine data

Do you have a great Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool or donor database? Dig into that data to uncover insights about your donors. If a good CRM system is in place, you’ll discover who the most valuable donors are based on historical data. Then, you can begin to tailor your donor acquisition activities to prospective  donors with the same traits.. You’ll also want to look at  how different prospects entered the “donor journey”, so that you can allocate more of your resources to those touch points that were successful, and less to those that weren’t.

4. Survey donors

Send a survey to your entire donor base to collect feedback insights your nonprofit might have overlooked or neglected before.

A good way to construct and conduct a survey is through Survey Monkey. This tool is a great value and is extremely user-friendly. When formatting the survey consider asking open-ended questions with the ability for people to type a response versus multiple choice or scaled answers. Free-response fields allow donors to honestly express themselves. It will also give you color commentary you might not be able to glean through data mining, which is really helpful in building a persona.

Keep in mind, the number of people who  respond to your survey can vary, so don’t be disheartened if your response rate is just 10-15%. That’sactually pretty typical. Also, before you send out a survey, make sure you’re prepared to read, digest, and synthesize all the information you gather from it.

All of these are great ways to begin developing your donor persona/s, but to develop the best persona/s, it’s wise to use multiple tools and cross reference your results to look for trends.

Ready to get started? We’ve created some questions to help you get started on building your own donor personas. Checkout our development team and donor survey questions here.

What are UTM Codes?

UTM Codes Green Gate

Urchin Tracking Module codes, better known as UTM codes or parameters, are simple pieces of code that are attached to the end of a URL. This code allows the user to track the source, medium, and campaign that drives traffic to the landing page associated with the URL. An example of a UTM code is highlighted in the URL below in bold: &utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

The added snippet of code is traditionally made up of three components:

  1. Campaign: Groups all of the content from one campaign in your analytics platform (product, promo code, or slogan).

  2. Source: Which site or platform referred the user to the page. (Facebook, Google, Newsletter4)

  3. Medium: Where the ad was placed (cpc, banner, email).

If you would like to be more specific, there are two additional components you can include:

  1. Campaign Term: Identifies the paid ad group or keywords associated.

  2. Campaign Content: Used to differentiate between ads within the same campaign.

Businesses that use UTM codes in URLs are better able to make informed decisions.  UTM’s allow them to:

  • Measure and show impact of specific marketing initiatives.

  • Track the same piece of content across multiple marketing platforms.

  • Better allocate budgets

  • Measure the effectiveness of guest posting.

To get started generating your own custom URLs click here.



Posted on May 25, 2016 .