Getting Digital Ready for the Crisis

We are already hearing many stories of charities impacted by the COVID 19 crisis and facing the multiple issues of increased demands for their services, with staffing hit by sickness and self-isolation at the same time as income is taking an unprecedented hit. These are truly challenging times.

Fundraising for charities has never been more important but lots of activities are now impossible or severely curtailed. The channel that every charity can use now is digital. 

Too many charities have neglected their digital fundraising capability to date. Now is the time to really fix that. In fact that’s probably the most important fundraising step that many nonprofits can take right now.

With our digital agency Big Mallet, we’ve come up with some simple steps to improve your digital fundraising capability today. Everyone can do this.

·        Create your crisis fundraising proposition. Do this today if you haven’t done this. What is the need your addressing in this crisis, what is the urgency, what is your solution? What will it cost? Why should people give to you right now, It should be very simple, one sentence should capture it. 

·        Make your home page fundraising focused. Today your home page needs to be fundraising first. Get your ask front and centre. Move all content that distracts off the front page. This is an emergency and your front page should reflect it.

·        Redesign your donation page. This needs to be completely focussed around converting interest into giving. The right picture, one ask focussed around the crisis, get rid of all distractions and noise. Simple changes can quadruple donation conversion. Big Mallet have developed a simple donation page that can plug into your existing web site and can get this up in a very short time.

·        Sort out your payment process. Don’t have a clunky, slow payment system or one that uses a third party site like JustGiving or Virgin Money that doesn’t let you optimise properly and gets in the way between you and the donor. Modern payment systems like Stripe are very easy and quick to set up and deliver a fast and seamless payment experience. There are also several products that integrate multiple payment systems into a rapid, donor friendly, experience.

·        Focus your social on fundraising. Charities needs to make sure that their social feeds are supporting the fundraising message.

·        Invest in paid media. The two platforms that matter for digital fundraising are Facebook (including Instagram) and Google (including Youtube).  Pay per click allows you to start with a small budget and test and refine messages until you can get a decent ROI. There are simple, powerful tools you can use to run campaigns. If you don’t have expertise and don’t have the time to learn the tools yourself and devote to making daily changes, use specialists such as Big Mallet’s digital marketing team.  

·        Design a proper landing page. All paid media needs to go to a landing page that will convert interest to donation. It’s a version of the main donation page but that links directly to the ask on the Google or Facebook ad.

·        Use email properly. Email is a powerful fundraising tool that many charities neglect. Even basic tools like Mailchimp allow you to segment your audiences, split test subject lines and copy and analyse results. Email should be narrowcast not a broadcast tool, aim to deliver punchy, focussed communications to key segments with clear propositions and calls to action. Again, if you don’t have someone to do this well, help is available.

There is a huge digital fundraising opportunity for causes of all kinds in this crisis. But you need to get the basics in place.  This isn’t hard or costly to do. But it needs to be done now.

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