Learn how to maximize the success of your virtual event donation page with this guide.

Maximizing the Success of Your Virtual Event Donation Page

It’s no surprise that in 2020 alone, the number of organizations hosting virtual events has doubled. With a global pandemic on our hands, nonprofit organizations needed to find a way to step up and get donors to show up— all in a virtual world. 

Based on the Virtual Events Research Report, creating a donation page is one of the most effective donation tactics you can use at a virtual event. Sounds easy enough, right? Shockingly, only 25% of those surveyed were actually following through and creating a page. And even more, only 8% of respondents were using peer-to-peer fundraising or crowdfunding efforts to gain additional revenue. 

This begs the question: Why are so many organizations leaving money on the table? 

But your organization is different, because you’re here and you know what to do for your virtual event’s donation page. At least, you will after you check out these seven best practices for creating a donation page so good it will help your organization raise as much money as possible during your next virtual event. Here’s to 2020 showing us just how adaptable and agile nonprofiteers like you can be. 

Best Practice #1: Tie Your Donation Page to the Event.

You already know that people respond well to content that’s catered to them. This is the reason targeted advertising exists, or email marketing campaigns with your name in the subject line. When it comes to your virtual event, the donations you receive related to your event are no different. They’re special and you should call that out.

You’ll want to create a special event page that ties in donations raised specifically from the virtual event. Take this page as an example from the Teen Kitchen Project. Notice that the page calls out how many donations have been given as a result of this campaign, how far the organization still has to go to reach their goal, and more information about the organization and the fundraiser itself. 

Here's an example of a virtual event donation page.

In addition, remember to create a sense of urgency. A great way to do this includes adding pop-ups like the one seen below. This tactic ensures the donate button is front and center multiple times throughout the potential donor’s journey to explore your event page. 

Here's an example of a donate button on a virtual event donation page.

Other examples to create a sense of urgency include adding a countdown showing when the virtual event ends. Tell your potential donors why it’s vital that you get the resources you need right away. Make sure to use language that evokes emotion from your donors. 

Best Practice #2: Make it Shareable.

They say sharing is caring, and your organization should definitely care about your attendees sharing! Amplifying your efforts can happen more and more if you have made it easy for virtual attendees to spread the good news.

One way to do this? Include easily clickable buttons for social sharing. If possible, pre-populate a status that your event participants can quickly edit to make their own. Making it as easy as possible to share increases the likelihood that your supporters will. 

This is also something important to work into your peer-to-peer fundraising. Encourage your participants to share, share, SHARE. There’s no such thing as oversharing here (well, as long as it’s about your organization). The key is to make it easy for your supporters to share the event. 

Then, you’ll want to continue to share your page during the event. Make sure to encourage your event participants to do the same. 

Here's an example of a share button on a virtual event donation page.

The popup that appears can encourage people to share, especially since social sharing has proven time and time again to be a valuable way to garner support. 

Best Practice #3: Make Donation Levels Clear

Sometimes, lack of instruction can lead to lost donations. If it isn’t easy and it isn’t clear, you’re bound to lose donors quickly. Since things are moving fast during a virtual event, it’s imperative that you outline donation levels and what they mean.

Remember that you’ll want to be as clear and concise as possible about what it is your organization needs and how donors can fill that need. 

Here's an example of set giving levels on a virtual event donation page.

Clearly indicating which amounts provide what on the donation page itself, like on this page, can help supporters make up their minds more quickly. As an added bonus, it may even encourage potential donors to give more when they see the needs they’re filling. So not only should you list the amount, but put it into perspective for your potential donor by outlining what that donation means.

Best Practice #4: Add Personal Touches

Don’t forget the essence of what fundraising is all about—the actual cause. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the technical event planning process and forget that the most important takeaway is that you connect with potential donors on the cause. 

There are two aspects to every virtual event and the donations you receive. One is the technical aspect of pulling off a virtual event donation page. For example, how easy is it for your potential donors to get involved, donate, and share. The other is to remember that you have to pull at their heartstrings and relate with them on a personal level to connect in a way that garners their support.

Once you’ve done all of the technical aspects of getting your donation and event page ready, read through as if you’re a potential donor who has never heard of your organization. Ask yourself—would you be compelled to give? Does the message of what your organization stands for shine though? If not, it’s time to go back in and add some love to the page.

Added bonus—as you’re gearing up for your event check out these live streaming tips. Once the streaming is over, add the video to your donation page for a personal touch. Don’t let the fear of technology keep you from hosting your best event yet.

Best Practice #5: Make Donating Easy

We’re asking you to keep it simple. Your donors shouldn’t get frustrated trying to navigate donating to your organization. Sometimes, organizations can be standing in their own way. So make donating online easy. We’re talking easy to navigate, easy to fill out the form, and just plain simple all around. 

Make sure that you’re gathering the least amount of information necessary. If possible, allow payments with popular one-step apps like Paypal or others.

Best Practice #6: Update Your Donors

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it… well, you know the rest. Your donors should always be informed of the larger goal you’re trying to reach. Why? Because they’re interested, they want to help, and they will do anything to keep spreading the word. Your small reminders will help nudge them toward giving again or finding peers that will. 

If you’ve been fundraising prior to your event, keep track of how close you are to your goal. That way, during the event, you can let them know how much is left to raise and ask them to help you to hit your goal. 

You can reach out to your donors via email, social media, or by including updates on the donation page itself like this example. 

Remember that if you never try, you’ll never know the success you could see. According to our 2020 virtual events research report, only 10% of respondents who had already run virtual events said that they were unsuccessful. However, those who didn’t try to engage attendees were 150% more likely to be unsuccessful — so make sure to continue engaging your attendees! 

Here's an example of a campaign update on a virtual event donation page.

This can also help build engagement and excitement as your supporters see how they’ve contributed to getting you closer and closer to your goal. 

Best Practice #7: Provide Next Steps

So you’ve followed all of the steps and hosted a successful virtual fundraiser. Now what? It’s easy to forget about next steps with all of the excitement and anticipation surrounding the event. But as a nonprofit professional, you always have to be one step ahead.

Make sure to use your donation page to capture information so you can follow up with attendees, participants, and donors after the event. Simply use an email capture box or pop up to let them know you want to keep them involved in your organization. Somebody may be incredibly interested in your organization, but unable to donate or volunteer at this time. This allows you to cultivate the relationship over time.

You’ll want to let them know the final totals (as mentioned in best practice #6!), but also let them know about additional ways to stay updated and get involved with your organization. Don’t forget to ask all attendees for feedback on how to improve the next event. 

As nonprofit professionals agree, a donation page for your virtual event is a sure way to increase your fundraising revenue. So what’s standing in your way? Putting in the effort will take your organization further in our increasingly digital world. 

Remember that although donation pages are one of the best ways to fundraise during virtual events, they’re not the only way. For more virtual events fundraising ideas and other virtual event best practices, make sure to check out our 2020 virtual events research report. 

Best of luck with your virtual events!

This was a guest post contributed by Wild Apricot.

Find out how to use your pet business to fundraise with this unique ideas.

Using Your Pet Business to Fundraise: 9 Ideas to Give Back 

As a pet care business owner, it’s no secret that you care deeply about animals. You’ve dedicated your professional life to ensuring that dogs and cats are safe, cared for, well-groomed, or effectively trained.

But taking care of the pets in your facility is a small piece of the puzzle. What if you want to make a difference for animals in a bigger way? There are cats and dogs across the country who are being neglected, abandoned, abused, or otherwise uncared for, and they deserve attention too.

It’s possible to leverage the buzz around your pet business and turn it into support for animal-related nonprofits. Whether you want to give back to a local shelter or a national organization, any of these groups could use your financial support.

However, this doesn’t mean you need to make a major donation on your own. There are plenty of ways to generate funds for rescue groups and other animal welfare organizations without writing a check!

Consider the following ways to use your pet care business for fundraising:

  1. Start a crowdfunding campaign.
  2. Launch a #GivingTuesday fundraiser.
  3. Start a matching gift program.
  4. Organize a dog walk.
  5. Create a “sponsor a pet” program for a local shelter.
  6. Donate in-kind services to local animal-focused organizations.
  7. Ask your employees for ideas.
  8. Run a pet calendar sale.
  9. Donate a percentage of sales.

By mobilizing your community through social media and the communication tools in your kennel software, you’ll be able to provide financial support to in-need organizations. With the help of your business and your customers, the groups you support will be better equipped to improve the lives of animals.

1. Start a crowdfunding campaign.

In a crowdfunding campaign, an organization collects small donations from a wide audience, usually leveraging the power of social media.

To do this as a business, you can choose a nonprofit to support, create a donation page on their behalf (with plenty of information about the organization’s mission), then share the campaign with your customers and followers.

This kind of campaign works especially well if you can tie it to a concrete outcome with a specific fundraising goal. For example, consider the following scenarios:

  • A nearby animal shelter needs to raise money for a new wing of their facility to meet a rising demand for space
  • A rescue group needs funding to pay for vaccinations for a new litter of kittens
  • One of your customers or someone else you know can’t afford an expensive surgery procedure for their beloved pet

Having a specific problem to solve will help potential donors feel more connected to the cause.

You’ve likely seen (and maybe even donated to) a crowdfunding campaign before, so this could be a good opportunity for a role reversal. You may even be able to turn some of your clients into lifelong donors to the shelter you support. Plus, crowdfunding is growing in popularity and success. In fact, the global market for crowdfunding is expected to triple in size by 2025!

If you aren’t willing to launch a crowdfunding campaign yourself, consider donating products or gift cards to assist an existing campaign. Often, higher-level donations get prizes as incentives to donate, and you could provide some of these prizes.

2. Launch a #GivingTuesday fundraiser.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, now is a great opportunity to explore a #GivingTuesday fundraiser for an animal-based organization. Like many of the others on this list, this kind of fundraiser can be completely virtual.

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that occurs each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It’s become a recognized, highly-anticipated, and successful annual event that capitalizes on the year-end giving spirit.

According to the DNL OmniMedia guide to year-end fundraising, this season of giving accounts for 30% of annual fundraising. Giving Tuesday is considered the kickoff for this very profitable season.

If you (like most business owners) are new to nonprofit fundraising, Giving Tuesday can be a good way to dip your toes into the water since there’s already a general structure in place. The national organization behind Giving Tuesday even offers logos, photos, and sample social media posts to help inspire your own campaign.

Again, if you aren’t ready to launch your own campaign, you can share an existing Giving Tuesday fundraiser with your customers. This extra publicity will help expand the campaign’s reach and can make a big difference in reaching its fundraising goal.

3. Start a matching gift program.

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate corporate responsibility into your existing pet business plan, consider starting a matching gift program for your employees.

With this kind of program, your business will match contributions from employees to eligible nonprofit organizations. You may choose to match gifts to any kind of nonprofit or focus your efforts on animal welfare groups to ensure you’re creating the desired impact. This provides extra revenue for the nonprofit and can also encourage your employees to make more or more substantial donations.

According to this guide to corporate philanthropy, matching gift programs have huge benefits for both companies and nonprofits. Of course, nonprofits get the obvious perk of critical funding for their work. But as a business owner, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Positive reputation in the community
  • Stronger relationships with customers
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Stronger workplace culture

If you choose to start one of these programs, make sure your employees are well-informed about the opportunity. Millions of dollars in matching gift revenue go unclaimed each year because employees aren’t aware of their eligibility. If you’re going to make the effort to provide matching gifts, you want your employees (and the benefiting nonprofits) to actually use it.

4. Organize a dog walk.

You’ve probably heard about walk-a-thon fundraisers. With this kind of fundraiser, participants walk a certain distance for a good cause. The main difference with a dog walk is self-explanatory: you get the furry friends involved, too!

While a walk-a-thon is often a peer-to-peer fundraising opportunity where participants collect pledge donations for each mile walked, you can also make it a more low-lift event by charging a registration fee to participants. Or, you can host the walk alongside one of the other ideas on this list, like a crowdfunding campaign.

You can even do a dog walk as an online fundraiser. In this case, participants and their pets complete the walk in a location of their choosing, track their progress with a fitness tracker or smartphone, and then report back to the rest of the group. If you do go virtual, don’t forget to encourage participants to share photos of their pets during and after the walk. Everyone loves a picture of a tuckered-out pup!

5. Create a “sponsor a pet” program for a local shelter.

While your customers are likely all animal lovers, they may not currently have the capacity to adopt another pet in need. However, just because they don’t have room in their homes doesn’t mean they don’t have room in their hearts!

In a “sponsor a pet” program, you encourage supporters to make a recurring monthly donation to a local shelter. This donation is meant to fill the needs of a single homeless pet, including food, shelter, medical procedures, or vaccinations.

The donor provides ongoing support for the pet until the shelter is able to find it a forever home. This one-on-one bond creates a meaningful experience for each donor, which is why it’s such an effective fundraising strategy.

This works best if you have a strong relationship with a local animal shelter or rescue group. You want your customers to know their recurring gift is going to a good cause, and they will also likely want ongoing updates (and pictures!) on how their sponsored pet is doing.

6. Make in-kind donations to local animal-focused organizations.

The shelters and other animal-focused groups you want to support are probably also running fundraisers of their own. So, instead of reinventing the wheel, you can use the resources you have available to make their efforts more successful.

One easy way to do this is by donating in-kind goods and services for the nonprofit to use as needed. 

If you donate high-value, pet-centric items, animal nonprofit organizations may be able to use them in one of the following ways:

  • Items for a silent, live, or online auction
  • Prize for a raffle
  • Incentive items for a crowdfunding campaign
  • Prize for a contest like a pet costume competition

If you run a dog daycare or kennel, consider donating a package credit, a free booking, or a substantial discount code. If your business uses online dog daycare software like from Revelation Pets, it will be simple to transfer package credits without having to worry about an in-person drop-off of a certificate. Or, you could donate gift cards for your grooming services or training school, depending on the nature of your pet business.

Finally, while these ideas are on a smaller scale, you could also consider donating leftover food, gently used toys, or lost and found items for the shelter to use.

7. Ask your employees for ideas.

You already know your employees are passionate about animals, and many also likely have a strong connection to animal welfare nonprofits. Asking employees for fundraising ideas is an effective way to engage them in opportunities that help them feel more fulfilled and connected to the local community.

360MatchPro recommends leveraging employee engagement software like employee experience software to create surveys and gather ideas from employees. With the help of this type of software, you can create a survey that asks employees questions like:

  • What nonprofit organizations are you most passionate about?
  • What types of fundraisers would you like to see our business participate in?
  • What level of involvement would you like to have in our fundraising initiatives? (e.g., volunteering at events, donating, no involvement, etc.)

When you launch fundraisers that employees are actually excited about, they’ll be much more likely to get involved and help drive your initiatives to success. Plus, 71% of surveyed employees say it is imperative to work where company culture supports giving and volunteering. By engaging employees directly in your charitable efforts, they’ll feel the sense of fulfillment that comes with doing a good deed.

8. Run a pet calendar sale.

When it comes to calendars, pets are one of the most popular themes, and for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to see an adorable animal each month?

Gather some photos of pets in your area to build a pet calendar. The pets can either be your business’s clients or adoptable animals from a local animal shelter.

Print and sell your calendars online or from your business’s storefront. Make it clear that all sales will benefit a nonprofit organization and provide some information about what the organization does.

9. Donate a percentage of sales.

In a percentage fundraiser, your business will donate a percentage of all sales in a specified time period to a nonprofit. For example, you could donate 5% of all sales made during a three-day weekend event.

This is a simple way to incorporate fundraising into your business’s regular activities. Promote your percentage fundraiser ahead of time to encourage charitably-minded customers to visit your store while the fundraiser is happening.

Just because your pet business is a for-profit company does not mean you can’t invest in the community. Corporate social responsibility is on the rise, and with consumers caring more and more about businesses that align with their values, there has never been a better time to give back. With these fundraising ideas, you can join the trend, build a strong reputation for your business, and help support animals in your community or nationwide. Good luck!

This was a guest post contributed by Revelation Pets.

These are five reasons why you should incorporate direct mail in your overall strategy.

5 Reasons to Incorporate Direct Mail in Your Strategy

Direct mail is the backbone of many nonprofit fundraising strategies. Over 90% of direct response revenue to nonprofits comes from direct mail. Even if your organization is using other channels already, a multi-channel approach is the most effective way to bring in revenue for your organization and maximize your ability to do what you do best – serve your cause.

But maybe you’ve been told that direct mail is a dying strategy and you’re not sure whether you want to invest your fundraising dollars that way. If you’re looking to get started with a fundraising campaign and want to learn the best ways to ask for donations, here are four key reasons why direct mail is the answer.

1. Increasing response rates

Direct mail has the highest response rate of any fundraising channel; in fact, response rates to direct mail can be 10x higher than other channels such as email or social media ads. While direct mail also costs more to send, these higher response rates make direct mail an attractive way to keep high-value donors active with your organization and engaged with your cause.

Higher response rates also mean that more fundraising revenue is coming to your organization. More money means more capabilities for your organization and a greater reach for your cause.

2. Keeping your organization top-of-mind

Direct mail is also the most memorable channel for recipients. Even in cases where the recipient isn’t sending a donation back, keeping your organization in the mind of the donor makes them more likely to give in the future.

Sending out direct mail appeals regularly keeps your cause in the eyes, minds, and hearts of your donors. For more information, see GivingMail’s guide to direct mail for nonprofits to understand just how powerful direct mail can be.

3. Allowing for a personal touch

Direct Mail continues to feel more personal, helping it create a deeper connection between your donors and your organization. People like seeing their names referenced in communications and relate best when they are directly addressed. This gives direct mail the advantage of being the most opened, most responded to, and most relatable type of appeal you can send to your donor.

Personalization is also key to maximizing the value of direct mail appeals. Now, personalization is more a necessity than an option if you want to get the greatest connection and greatest response to your fundraising campaigns. Personalization is just one of many best practices for a fundraising letter.

4. Targeting older audiences

While direct mail remains a top-performing channel for all age groups for marketing and fundraising purposes, it’s especially useful in targeting older demographics. Older audiences have even higher affinities for direct mail, and the gap between responsiveness between channels grows with age.

Direct mail fundraising appeals that apply best practices are the single best way to drive revenue for your organization. You’ll want to make sure that your appeals are written in a way that appeals to all your demographics, or that you are segmenting your audiences and sending tailored appeals, to ensure that your results are maximized.

5. Pairing well with online campaigns

While direct mail fundraising can function as a standalone campaign, it’s important to point out that it can also work very well as an additional touchpoint for tons of other types of fundraisers.

For example, imagine you’re hosting a crowdfunding campaign. You’ve created your online campaign on a top crowdfunding website and now you’re ready to start promoting it and watch those donations pour in. You appreciate the flexibility and convenience of an online fundraiser (and a crowdfunding one in particular), but you’re looking for a way to bring your campaign even further.

That’s where direct mail comes in handy! By sending out direct mail appeals to your top supporters, you can encourage them to check out your crowdfunding campaign and make a virtual contribution.

Consider integrating your direct mail outreach with your online fundraising efforts.

To make the conversion process even easier for your direct mail recipients, be sure to include the URL for your online campaign (or perhaps even a QR code!). That way, readers will know exactly how to respond and support your fundraising efforts.

Direct mail has many purposes in a nonprofits’ strategy. If you neglect this critical fundraising channel, you never know how much potential revenue you might be giving up!

Author Bio

This guest post was contributed by GivingMail.

Grant Cobb is a fundraising specialist with over 6 years of experience in the nonprofit space. Currently the head of marketing and analytics at GivingMail, he is a huge proponent of data-driven decision making and the push to bring high-level analytics and fundraising to all.

Check out these amazing and successful crowdfunding campaigns.

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  • It is at Fundly’s sole discretion to decide whether or not a campaign meets our standards.

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With these virtual fundraising ideas, you'll be well-equipped to raise more for your mission.

40+ Virtual Fundraising Ideas for More Powerful Campaigns