Putting the Digital Appeals in Your
Fundraising Strategy

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager. 

Two of my friends recently celebrated birthdays. When I went on Facebook to wish them a “Happy Birthday,” I saw something that I hadn’t seen before, a fundraising appeal. The appeal was a personal one, “I’m donating my birthday to X organization.” Donations were accepted at any amount. In both cases, the funds raised far-outstripped their goal.

A recent study by The Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good, 2017 Global Trends Giving Report, highlighted how donors are shifting more of their giving to digital platforms. Though the report focuses on NGOs and other social service non-profits, there are some interesting lessons in the report. Among the findings:

Donors Prefer to Give

  • 61% Online
  • 14% Direct Mail
  • 14% Fundraising Events
  • 6% Mobile
  • 5% Workplace Giving

If the method of giving is shifting, even more, interesting are the demographics of who is giving. One would think that Generation X (1965-1980) and Millennials (1981-1997) would be leading the way in giving as both generations are arguably more comfortable with the technology. While that may be true, the study found that Baby Boomers (1946-1964) lead the way in digital giving.

Generation Z (1998-or After)        1.6%

Millennials (1981-1997)               25.7%

Generation X (1965-1980)              30%

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)         36.7%

Matures (1928-or Before)                 6%

Baby Boomers have the means to give and have acquired the digital fluency to use technology to target their donations. For arts organizations, Baby Boomers are the sweet spot as they make up a disproportionate amount of their patrons. While trying to develop the next audience, don’t forget the value of the audience that is currently engaging with your organization.

In another article by Nonprofit Tech for Good, Facebook Ramps Up Reach for “Donate” Buttons and Fundraisers, being an early adopter of this kind of fundraising may pay big dividends. They point out that those that engage in this type of digital fundraising increase their overall reach. In an era where donors are increasingly more motivated to give after being engaged by an organization, this type of peer-to-peer appeal may be the tipping point for a donor making a gift.

What does this mean for your organization? While your entire fundraising strategy shouldn’t be limited to social media or digital fundraising, used judiciously, these added tools could mean incremental fundraising dollars while increasing reach through peer-to-peer connections.

Here are a couple strategies to deploy this kind of fundraising tool;

  • Consider asking your board members to set up an appeal on their birthdays using their Facebook page. Their networks are made up of like-mind connections that are more likely to identify with your organization.
  • Volunteers who are engaged with your organization are a network that is inclined to evangelize on your behalf and increase your reach resulting in increased fulfillment for themselves and your organization.

Also, consider extending the appeal concept through an educational email to other stakeholder groups such as donors and artists. Building connections through social media and capitalizing on the peer-to-peer connections of your patrons is an easy and effective way to turn your patrons into ambassadors for your organization.

The best thing about these appeals is that as an organization you can download the data and bring it into your CRM solution. Facebook allows a .csv file that contains first name, last name, and email address.

For more information about creating appeals see the Fundraisers and Donations help section on Facebook.


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