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Allyson Kapin 7 min read

Five Online Fundraising Tips to Raise More Money

Repeat after me. "I will no longer send out fundraising appeals with boring subject lines and long-winded pitches."

In today’s battle of the inboxes, tweets, Facebook updates, text messages, and banner ads flying across the screen, organizations can’t afford to ignore online fundraising 101 strategies to motivate and inspire supporters to donate money. Don’t have the budget to hire fundraising strategists to help you craft your online fundraising campaigns? No problem. Follow these five tips and you will be on your way to increasing open and click-through rates and more importantly - raising more money for your nonprofit.

1. Short, Catchy Subject Lines

Hook your supporters right off the bat with a short and catchy subject line.

Example of Bad Subject Line:

Renew Your Commitment to End Dog Homelessness

What’s Wrong with it?

Aside from this subject line being BORING, you are also intimidating your members to shoulder a very big issue – that they alone are responsible for saving all dogs. Bad idea!

Example of Good Subject Line:

Help Keep a Puppy Safe in DC’s Blizzard!

This is a good subject line because it’s focused, local, timely, and a bit emotional. Who doesn’t want to keep a puppy safe from a terrible blizzard in their hometown?

2. Short and Sweet. Tell A Story

So you hooked your members with a short and catchy subject line, now continue to engage them in the body of the text with a brief (not 10 paragraphs), straight forward appeal that tells a story.

You don’t have to be the world’s greatest storyteller to tell a compelling story to your members. Why? Because every day you work on some of toughest issues facing the world or your community. You have access to the greatest stories at your disposal around the issues you advocate for and the people you help. Now share them. Tell your members how their $50 donation is going to help X, Y,  and Z. And be as specific as you can. For example: “Your $50 donation will help feed 5 puppies in our shelter for an entire month.”

3. Ask for the Donation Upfront

People typically skim appeals; so provide an opportunity for people to donate (with a link) within the first paragraph of the appeal (preferably within the first three lines). Then repeat the call to donate at least three more times.

4. Make it Timely

The most successful organizations raise a lot of money around timely issues. Any opportunities your nonprofits can connect fundraising campaigns to current news, seize it!

5. Follow Up

Don’t forget to close the loop. I can’t stress how important this basic cultivation strategy is to engaging and sustaining donors. “All too often, nonprofits forget to thank their donors and close the loop in online fundraising campaigns. Donors want to know if you met your goals. So take the time to build better relationships with them and schedule follow up emails. Also make sure you include any compelling stories, successes, or photos so donors feel that their donation made a difference,” I said in an earlier fundraising related article on Frogloop. Two months later, many nonprofits still aren’t following up with their supporters.

What are your top online fundraising tips for nonprofits?

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Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.