Seven top tips for successful online giving fundraising

13 October 2020


By Bally Sappal, GNDR Fundraising Coordinator

This blog outlines how charities can use online giving to raise funds and provides seven top tips to how you can get the most out of online fundraising.

Online giving is now a very popular way of fundraising. For example, since 2010, the GoFundMe platform has raised over $5 billion and Global Giving has helped raise over $510 million since 2002 for 27,103 projects.

Many charities and individuals promote their cause through a webpage on an online giving platform or a webpage on their website. Online giving can be a cost effective way to raise public and international awareness quickly to a large audience.

You can also raise more funds by encouraging your supporters to set up their own online fundraising campaigns. You can earn even more from tax benefits in the US and UK, for example with UK Gift Aid.

Explore which online giving platform works best for you. Online platforms charge different fees which may include monthly subscriptions, processing and service fees or rates. Many offer support and/or training. You may be able to take advantage of their campaigns especially seasonal (i.e. Christmas). Some platforms also enable individual supporters to start their own campaigns.

  • Just Giving is one of the largest online platforms and has 22 million users globally. It allows charities and individuals to run fundraising campaigns. They charge a monthly subscription which depends on what country you are in.
  • Global Giving allows people to build free fundraising web pages, as well as connecting charity projects with corporate funding and fundraising opportunities such as match-funding opportunities. They also offer training, support and tools. It is free to join and they retain a 5–12% fee on donations, plus a 3% transaction processing fee.
  • CAF Donate is an online donations platform, which allows charities to embed customisable donation forms on their website. They charge a 3.6% processing fee for one-off donations and 2% for regular donations and a set-up fee for new direct debits.
  • Virgin Money Giving is a platform created by Virgin Money to help charities and individual fundraisers raise money online. There is a one-off membership fee of £150, as well as a 2.5% processing fee, and a 2% processing fee.
  • The Big Give – Charity Checkout is a match funding platform which has worked with over 10,000 charities in the UK. They run the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign, The Christmas Challenge. An account is free to set up and there are no monthly charges but there is a small processing fee.
  • Crowdfunder has helped 80,000 individuals, charities, businesses and community projects to raise over £70 million to date. Fees vary according to the type of organisation. For charities, the platform waives any processing fees but there are service fees.
  • What’s your story? Make it as engaging as possible. Make sure you focus on the stories of people and use high quality pictures.
  • What is the problem? What evidence do you have to back up the problem (i.e. examples, local data, SDGs, UN reports etc).
  • What is the solution? What will you or your organisation do? What experience do you have (i.e. past projects)? How much money do you need? Readers will want to know what their donation will be spent on.
  • What is the impact you want to achieve? How many people will you support and what changes will occur as a result in their lives and the community.
  • Look at examples from other charities and platforms to see what they are doing. For example, you can see projects from Global Giving. Also see the example below from Global Giving from Rajasthan Samgrah Kalyan Sansthan.
  • Demonstrate to your donors how the money they donate will make a difference to your cause.
  • Case studies, testimonials, statistical data and videos from work in the field will help show donors that their contributions are making an impact, and encourage more giving.
  • Regular messages to your supporters about your campaigns can also encourage them to donate.

Plan a marketing and communications campaign

  • Make sure you have good quality logos and branding and that you have consistency with the style you use which includes fonts, colours and language. This will help maintain relationships and trust with your
  • donors and supporters.
  • Make sure you ‘have a call to action’. What is it that you want supporters to do or how much do you want them to donate.
    Ensure your website is up-to-date
  • Tell everyone all about it! Use all the platforms available to you including social media including your website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and write a blog.
  • Email all your networks including donors, supporters, friends and families. You can use tools such as Mailchimp to do this if you have a list or database of your stakeholders. If you don’t start a list or database!

One of the key benefits of online donations is the speed and convenience for your donors so you need to ensure visitors can easily find the information they need to donate. To help this happen you need to ensure:

  • The donation button or page is prominent on your site.
  • A minimum amount of clicks is needed for supporters to make a donation.
    Once donors arrive at your donation page they are ready to give. You need to offer them the fewest number of steps possible to complete a donation or they will give up. This means not requiring them to log in or create an account although it is good to receive their contact details so you can contact them in the future.
  • Also make sure people can easily donate on their mobile phone.
  • Have more than one online appeal or fundraising campaign live on your website at the same time.
  • Some donors might be more interested in donating to one project over another. Each one should be linked to the specific impacts that the donations will make.
  • Another advantage of regularly launching online appeals is that they provide new reasons for supporters to give, with the possibility of linking each new appeal to a fresh marketing campaign.

See how Humanity Without Boarders have used multiple appeals on their websites.

For more information on fundraising, GNDR members can view: Local Resource Mobilisation: A How-to Guide developed by GNDR with Change the Academy.

Back to top