7 Steps to Demystifying Digital Fundraising

April 19, 2018 - by Megan Buchheit

You keep hearing other nonprofits talk about how much money they’re raising online, but it all seems so complicated. When it comes to digital fundraising, the possibilities seem endless, so where do you begin? Follow this simple, step-by-step guide to start growing your email fundraising program today.

Step 1: Gather email addresses.

Take stock of the email addresses your organization already has on file from donors and supporters. If you don’t have one already, add a signup to your website for other individuals interested in your work to join your email list. An eAppend is an excellent way to add current emails to your donor database. Contact coop@lautmandc.com for more information.
 
Step 2: Choose a platform for sending emails and processing donations.
 
There are many systems available at a variety of price points, and we recommend doing some research to determine what is the best fit given your organization’s current needs, budget, and future plans. Consider which platform to use for sending emails and for processing donations; while both features are present in some platforms, others may require you to use two vendors. Some popular platforms include Luminate, MailChimp, Emma, Salsa, and Constant Contact. 
 
Step 3: Create an engaging email strategy and draft creative elements.
 
Ideally, email campaigns should integrate with the direct response campaigns your organization already has planned. Create a smart strategy that includes email send dates, messaging, creative direction, and segmentation information. Then, draft the creative elements including email copy and art. Or let the Meals on Wheels Co-op do the work for you by signing up for our digital fundraising campaigns! 
 
Step 4: Build out. 
 
Once all email creative elements have been finalized, it is time to build out the email and any corresponding elements, such as donation pages, confirmation pages, and autoresponder emails. Ideally, each of these elements should be customized to fit the specific campaign so that they have a cohesive message.
 
Step 5: Testing, testing.
 
Put yourself in your donors’ shoes and try out a test of the email(s) and all corresponding elements. Be sure to check how the email looks on both desktop and mobile, click all the links to ensure that they lead to the correct webpage, and make a test donation. 
 
Step 6: Send! 
 
After all your hard work, it’s time to send the email out into the world – or at least to your email list.
 
Step 7: Review the results.
 
Keep an eye on key statistics like open, click through, unsubscribe, and response rates to monitor email performance over time. Test elements like senders, subject lines, and call to action to increase engagement and revenue. Continue to build on these principles, and gradually introduce new techniques
 
We hope these guidelines are helpful. Please connect with us if you would like to discuss growing your digital fundraising program!