How to help your fundraisers raise money online

Michael Hatton, Corporate Fundraising Manager at Virgin Money Giving, offers his tips on how to help your supporters capitalise on the opportunities offered by digital giving.

Help your fundraisers think digital first

“Most charities understand the potential of digital giving, but it’s important to pass that enthusiasm down to fundraisers. People are more generous online: the average donation on Virgin Money Giving is about £40. If you went around the office saying ‘I’m running a marathon, will you sponsor me?’, the chances are slim that the majority of people would pull two £20 notes from their wallet.”

It’s all about the personal touch

“One thing we’ve seen is that the more charities communicate with their fundraiser, the more successful that fundraiser will be. So as soon as a charity sees somebody create a fundraising page in their name, we recommend they get in touch to start to build that relationship. If somebody has committed to raise a lot of money for a charity, they might well be nervous about hitting that goal, so someone from the charity getting in touch and saying, ‘I’m going to make your fundraising as easy and as fun as possible’ can be quite a relief. Giving them a named contact is very important, if possible. Just knowing that somebody is there can be hugely reassuring.”

Be personable

“We see it over and over again: the more personal a fundraiser’s page, the bigger the response. You can put beautiful images up on Virgin Money Giving, so it’s important to encourage fundraisers to take advantage of that option. Successful pages also tell a story – whether it is the fundraiser’s or the charity’s. People may not understand or know what a particular charity does, but the fundraiser can tell them through their page. If charities can share success stories with their fundraisers, it will inspire the fundraiser to create their own. We also recommend that fundraisers put a target on their page, and make sure that people understand why they’re trying to raise that specific amount of money – the good that amount of money can do. When they hit that target they should celebrate reaching that milestone and then increase it, otherwise potential new donors may not give as they think the goal is already complete.”

Facebook is still number one…

“Facebook is key. We can see that the majority of traffic to fundraising pages comes directly from Facebook, so we always recommend that charities point fundraisers in that direction. Facebook is where people’s friends and family are, but people are easily distracted online and many mean to donate but don’t get around to it – so fundraisers need to keep reminding them what they are doing and why. We recommend fundraisers share every step of the fundraising journey and then follow up afterwards as well. It’s surprising the amount of donations that can come in after the event; a fundraiser posting a picture with their runner’s medal, or their blistered feet, is a nice reminder.”

…although LinkedIn shouldn’t be underestimated

“If your fundraiser is big in the business community then they might want to look at LinkedIn. It’s easier for charitable acts to stand out there and individuals and businesses are keen to show their support. You’re also likely to catch people at their desk, with a secure internet connection and their wallets to hand.”

Celebrate success

“It is easy to underestimate the power of a repost. A charity highlighting the good work a fundraiser is doing can really raise spirits and spur that person on. Fundraisers are also always looking for inspiration, so if charities can share great ideas for fundraising – be it a pub quiz, a dress-down day or sponsored dog walk – it will really help those fundraisers get out there. At the end of the day everyone wants the same thing: to raise as much money and to do as much good as possible.”

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