Raising money online has become one of the most exciting and fast-moving business activities of the 21st century. Every kind of cause from new products to new technologies to charities have benefited from the relatively easy access to contributions on business sites, social media and dedicated crowdfunding communities.
However, many organizations have found that some fundraisers are more successful than others. Some groups seem to get more traction out of their efforts than others. Is there anything these successful campaigns have in common? Is there any way for new or inexperienced causes to increase the probability of their own success in the online marketplace?
The answer, thankfully, is yes. Here are some things you should consider if you would like to see your fundraising project achieve greater success.
The average attention span online is about twelve seconds. While this may seem like a long time for some, just see if you can explain your entire campaign in that time. The way to overcome the attention span problem online is to schedule and deliver daily updates for your project. This is a vital concept no matter what you are trying to do to attract an audience on the web.
Updates don’t have to be complex or overloaded with information. All they have to be is visible. Done properly, your update schedule will keep your project in the minds of your audience, and that will lead to greater success.
Text is important, but graphics are eye-catching. If possible, use high-contrast colorful illustrations, photographs or animations to decorate your announcements. If you find you are light on sources, check one or more of the stock photography sites. You will find that for a minimal expenditure you can obtain dozens or even hundreds of professionally produced general-purpose photographs involving all kinds of subjects. These can attract people’s attention much better than simple text.
While you’re collecting those photographs or illustrations, make sure you include smiling or laughing faces. It isn’t an accident that every outreach campaign for big corporations includes a super-high-resolution image of a smiling or laughing face. Happiness is both attractive and contagious. Making people think they are participating in something positive will put them at ease.
Even if you are making the most of your social media presence, a regular mailing list will go a long way towards keeping your most dedicated audience members involved in your project. While it is true your biggest fans will follow you on social media sites, you can’t rely on them checking the feed at all the appropriate times. Use your mailing list to bring important milestones to their attention, and offer your potential members a reward for signing up. You will find the response is much better when you can establish a permanent fan base.
Rewards and Perks
Don’t underestimate the fun and allure of winning a prize. They don’t have to be expensive, and they don’t even have to be difficult to deliver. They just have to be fun and recognize your contributor in a special way. Even putting names on a special list can often be enough. On the web, prizes are often much easier to deliver. Gift cards and e-books are popular. T-shirts and other souvenir type items are also common. Just be careful you aren’t overspending.
Some of the most successful fundraisers in history were presented in a format called a telethon. One of the reasons telethons were able to raise so much is because they put a hard deadline on contributions. Never underestimate the power of a ticking clock. It works magnificently in retail and it will work just as well for your fundraiser provided you present it properly. The deadline turns your event into a race and a team effort all at once. Use that positive energy and watch the donations roll in.
The key to a successful fundraiser is to make people believe they are a part of something bigger than themselves. If your cause is important enough, what you help them learn is the truth: They are part of something bigger and something important. That energy is what has driven every charity event since the first time a person carried a container around and collected valuables.
Chief among your concerns should be your relentless updates. That advice was placed first on purpose. The Internet responds to regular, predictable news. It will rapidly forget you and your project if you disappear for too long a period. Plan your updates in advance. Set a regular time of day. Set a regular series of updates each week. If your audience learns they can count on you, it will help build trust.
All the Internet does is speed up an activity society has encouraged for centuries. The key to making it work is making it fun, positive and full of energy.