Online Fundraising

Online Fundraising

  • 8 Lessons From a 1-Woman-Fundraising-Phenomenon

    Wendy van Eyck, communications manager for Qhubeka, had to learn very quickly how to make the most of limited time and resources. In 2014, she managed to increase Qhubeka’s fundraising by more than 15 times the amount raised in 2013 through the GiveHope campaign. She shared 8 tips for running a successful peer-to-peer online fundraising campaign.
    Work smarter not harder
    Wendy uses automated email replies to make her life easier. However, this does not mean that her communication with Qhubeka’s supporters is impersonal. She uses many different email templates to address different segments of her audience. New activists, for example, receive a series of four emails which welcome, equip and encourage them to take on their new role as volunteer fundraisers (activists) for Qhubeka. She includes Qhubeka’s unique “fundraising kit”, which gives activists ideas on how to kick start a campaign, and includes photos and links they can share with friends.
    Encourage and motivate your activists
    Automation is extremely helpful in managing time, but it cannot be the only form of interaction with activists. Wendy 'keeps an eye' on every activist’s progress, and would send them an email to congratulate and encourage them when they have reached their halfway mark, and again when they have reached their goal. These emails are personal and include some additional tips and advice.
    Wendy also has an 'influencers list' - people with a large following on social media - whom she asks to share Qhubeka’s news. She asks these people to amplify the message of her cause and help her to reach more people through their respective networks. Reaching out to her influencers includes sending them emails, tweets and photos that they can post directly to their networks. (You can set up your own Influencers List using an App such as WhoTweetedMe and IfThisThenThat, or create one manually.)
    Captivate your audience with stories
    Wendy believes that stories have a big impact on people. That is why she tries to tell stories of the children who have benefitted from Qhubeka, sharing their names with donors and showing how it has changed their lives. She also asks supporters and activists to tell their personal stories when asking their friends to support Qhubeka. According to a report published by Georgetown University, storytelling turns awareness into action: more than half of those surveyed agreed that they had read stories on social media that have made them want to do more. 
    Pick yourself up and try again
    If at first you do not succeed, do not give up! Wendy managed to drastically improve the success of the Give Hope campaign within just one year. In the first year, they raised only R12 000; in the next, the number grew to R200 000. Wendy admits that she learnt a lot through the first try, and applied the lessons she learned.
    The early bird catches the worm)
    Planning for Qhubeka’s successful GiveHope campaign started in June, four months ahead of its launch in October. Her preparation went into composing campaign emails, organising the production of a campaign video and putting various campaign elements into place.
    Link it up
    Wendy attributes much of the success of Qhubeka’s GiveHope campaign to the integrated donation landing page that was set up on their website. From here everything was linked: news about the campaign, links to social media and their GivenGain secure donation page, and even products from their online store. Integration is important, but so are clear calls to action. It must be very easy for a donor to understand what you want from them when they arrive on your website.
    Make donors feel valued, rather than annoyed
    According to Wendy, she continually asks herself, “Would I want to receive this in an email?” Following this principle, she goes to great lengths to ensure that Qhubeka’s supporters don’t receive the same email twice by checking her mailing lists meticulously. “It is easier to retain a donor than to establish one,” she believes. She spends more time on getting people to be recurring donors. (Both MailChimp and Campaign Monitor enable you to remove people from mailing lists through their “suppression list” functions.)
    Build lasting relationships
    Keeping her communication concise and interesting enables Wendy to achieve what she considers to be the most important: building relationships with donors. She does this by telling them exactly what their donations will be used for, and regularly reporting back to tell them the stories of children whose lives were touched through their support. In fact, a 2013 study by the Urban Institute Centre on Nonprofits and Philanthropy showed the costs associated with finding and processing new donors are generally higher than maintaining connections with existing donors. This is why Wendy is serious about donor retention.
    Wendy has found what works for her campaigns at Qhubeka. Learn from her to find out what works for yours. Successful online fundraising can be a quick endeavor if you utilise your resources and focus on the right things.   
  • 10 Tips to Give Your Charity A Digital Spring Clean this Spring Day

    Happy Spring Day!

    As we celebrate the packing away of winter clothes, heaters and blankets and look forward to the advent of Spring and warmer weather, isn't it time you gave your charity a much needed digital spring clean? Dust away the cobwebs with these 10 tips we've devised to revitalise your fundraising, both online and offline.

    1. Review your website

    Is your website design tired and your site cluttered? Could you be improving the flow of traffic from the homepage to the key pages that help you achieve your objectives? Could you rework your home page to make it more effective? Can it tell your story better? Maybe you could add some video, a picture gallery or just add social buttons, so people can share your content.

    2. Is your e-mail tired?

    Maybe your e-mail too could benefit from a refresh. Do you have an effective e-mail template? Do your subject lines need revamping? What about your database? Are you still sending e-mail to people who don't exist? Do you give them the opportunity to opt in to your e-mail newsletter or update their details via your website?

    Make sure too that you have an automated e-mail programme that welcomes new supporters too. There are a variety of ways you can keep supporters interested and loyal using e-mail.

    3. What conversations are you having?

    Do you get a lot of feedback when you post on Twitter or Facebook? Do you really have interesting things to say and do you know when to say them? Social media is not a one-way channel. Reinvigorate your pages or feeds by posing interesting questions and get to know your audience better. Post better content - content that is shareable. You'll reap the benefits of traffic and awareness.

    4. Is your database in no man's land?

    Do you have databases in different places? Isn't it time you consolidated and updated them? Not only does this save time and energy but your charity will benefit from having one source of truth. It doesn't matter where or what this database is (OK maybe it does depend what it is, but more about that later), just ensure that you have the data you need for you to create intelligent campaigns and provide brilliant service to your donors. Also de-duplicate your records to get a much more accurate picture of your supporter numbers.

    5. Purge the disinterested

    Do you have inactive donors? Query your database and if you have records for supporters who have never made a donation, never attended an event, haven’t responded to any of your efforts for five years, perhaps it’s time to purge their records and free up some space.

    6. Rotate your team

    Do you have fundraisers who would be better suited to writing content for your website? Could they keep your Facebook page or Twitter feed up-to-date? Or maybe they should be out with people, face-to-face fundraising. Do an audit of your team's strengths and weaknesses and look for opportunities where they could excel.

    7. Get some new links to your website

    There may be a huge opportunity for you to get links from your supporters’ corporate websites or blogs. Do an audit of who they are and what links they can possibly offer you. Then approach them to ask them for specific links to specific pages on your site with specific wording. Make sure you use keywords that are key to your charity. You will benefit from moving up higher in search engine rankings and the increase in traffic to your site that results from this exercise.

    8. What keywords do you want to be found for? Where are the gaps?

    Do you know what people are searching for when it comes to your website? Granted, the majority of keyword searches are brand terms but maybe you could be picking up more traffic around keywords that have high demand and are relevant to content on your site. Look at key themes of your site and try to find keywords with high searches and low competition. Create relevant content on your site to help drive more traffic to these pages. Make sure it's all in line though with your objectives. e.g. jumble sale. Create a page for promoting jumble sales for your charity. Give people clear instructions how they can host a jumble sale and pay the money earned into your charity bank account.

    9. Are you tracking everything online - end to end?

    Do you know how to measure awareness of your charity online? Can you tell whether a specific channel like e-mail or Facebook is driving revenue for your charity? Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your website and work on a tracking plan to ensure all campaigns and activity on and offline is tracked. This will make the world of difference to your organisation!

    10. Refresh your skillset

    Sometimes charities ask for volunteers to work with them on projects. But maybe they have skills you could be utilising in-house. Ask volunteers to update your database, write content, collect supporter testimonials, film a video and keep audiences updated on social media. Sure they may need a little training, but keeping your charity fresh and relevant doesn't need to be a resourcing headache. Just make sure you always steer them according to the overall fundraising strategy and things won't come undone.


    **Feeling inspired or stuck?**

    Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you with some of these tasks. Or share some of your ideas in the comments below.

    **About Digital4Good**

    Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Digital4Good helps charities make the most of digital media so that they can embrace digital technologies to engage more with their supporters, increase awareness of their cause as well as achieve their fundraising objectives.

    With many years experience in digital charity fundraising working with top local and international charity brands, we can help you cut through the hype and use the tools that make sense for your charity. We are committed to positive results and ROI for our clients. Changing the world…one pixel at a time.

    Contact us at or like us on


  • #SANGO10 - “Fundraising in the Digital World”

    The 6th Annual SANGONeT “ICTs for Civil Society” Conference (#SANGO10) will be held in three parts from 1-6 September 2010.

    Following the success of the previous five SANGONeT annual events, the 2010 conference will focus on “Fundraising in the Digital World”.

    The main event will be held from 1-2 September 2010 in Johannesburg, followed by one-day seminars in Durban on 3 September 2010 and Cape Town on 6 September 2010.

    Ted Hart
    , a leading US fundraising expert, will be the keynote speaker at the conference, and also present the seminars in Durban and Cape Town. He is the CEO of P2PFundraising and TedHart.Com, and Founder and CEO at

    Raising money through the Internet, mobile phones and other online applications is gaining international importance. This is particularly evident, especially during high-profile events such as disasters, political campaigns and targeted multi-channel media efforts that draw attention to a particular cause or campaign.

    According to Ted Hart, global Internet fundraising generated more than $29 billion in 2008.

    Similarly, the recent earthquake in Haiti marked a turning point in the development of mobile giving. According to mGive, the company that worked with the American Red Cross to set up a SMS donation campaign in the wake of the disaster, more than 2.5 million people texted $10 pledges to Haiti relief in the week immediately following the earthquake. And this was just one of many mobile giving campaigns that were created to help fund relief efforts.

    The challenge for NGOs, fundraisers and other development stakeholders in South Africa is to ensure that they are prepared to embrace and maximise the opportunities presented by a fast changing digital world.

    Although only a small percentage of local NGOs are actively involved in fundraising through the Internet and mobile phones, a number of factors will contribute to accelerated growth in this area over the next few years. These include the growing number of South Africans with access to the Internet, the fact that most South Africans already own a mobile phone, the ongoing reduction in Internet costs, more NGOs with their own websites, the increasingly relevance and popularity of social networking platforms, a growing middle class and a significant expatriate community with an interest in supporting good causes back home.

    Furthermore, the 2009 “State of ICTs in the South African NGO Study” survey confirmed that local NGOs are becoming mainstream users of technology and are increasingly thinking about the role and relevance of the online environment in support of their work.

    To register, and for more information about the conference, refer to

    We look forward to your participation in 2010 SANGONeT Conference!
  • US Ahead of UK in Online Fundraising

    Fundraisers in the United Kingdom have fallen behind their counterparts in the United States by at least 18 months in using the online environment in enhancing their fundraising efforts.

    This claim was made during a recent presentation by Alan Clayton, Director of Innovation at The Good Agency, on the interim report of an ongoing research project combining research into donor values and motivations, and online behaviour.

    To read the full article, click here.
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