4 essential elements of digital fundraising

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Digital fundraising is big. More charities are investing in digital fundraising teams and more people are donating online than ever before.

Is your charity set up to take full advantage of that?

Here are the four essential elements of raising money online.


1. A plan

You wouldn’t set on any journey without a map. So don’t embark on a programme of digital fundraising without an idea of what you’re going to do.

Make sure your plan covers:

  • which fundraising teams that are going to benefit – individual giving, challenge events or legacies?
  • the digital channels that can attract donors – email, Google AdWords, Facebook ads & organic social media.
  • how you’re going to resource digital fundraising – through a dedicated team or a working group to establish viability?

And be sure you’ve got senior support before you begin, or the programme will fall flat on its face before it’s got going.


2. A good donation page

Spur of the moment donations happen every day. Sometimes, those are big donations. Without a decent donation page, you’ll miss out on that income.

Make sure your page has a sentence or two on the impact donations have on your service users. Include an image of a beneficiary to go along with it. Drive home the power of what you do.

Parkinson’s UK recently launched a new donation page, and saw an increase in online donations of a whopping 86%.

A good donation page is worth investing in.


3. A fundraiser acquisition programme

For many charities, events like the London Marathon, Great North Run and Movember are huge sources of income. There are people out there who don’t do anything for charity at any other time of the year except these ones.

So make sure you have forms on your website for people who want to take part in those events for you.


  1. Send emails to your list asking subscribers to sign up to those events, and raise money for your charity.
  2. Create well optimised campaigns in your Google Grants accounts so you appear in Google search results of people searching for charities to raise money for (read more about this in my JustGiving blog post)
  3. Ask your social media followers to do more for your charity by signing up.


4. A donor acquisition campaign

While the online equivalent of holding a big online sign up saying DONATE TO US NOW might work one time in a thousand, you usually have to be a bit smarter to recruit cash or regular givers online.

One way of attracting donors is through a value exchange campaign. Here’s how it works.

  1. You provide something helpful to your online audience – this is the value bit. A famous example is the five signs of breast cancer guide from Breast Cancer Now.
  2. People give you their contact details in return for the value – this is the exchange bit. This is often a phone number.
  3. You contact the people who gave you permission to contact them, and ask them to donate to your cause

These campaigns are great because the person got something genuinely helpful from you before you asked them to donate. They might feel grateful, and happy to reciprocate through a regular donation. Way more so than if you were asking for something for nothing.


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