Jan 29, 2021

7 Ways to Ask for Donations Online

donate button graphic

Many nonprofits are hesitant to move their giving online. However, many donors are expressing their preference to give online in several scenarios, including:

Top scenarios for online donation

In fact, the only scenario in which donors did not prefer giving online, was when making a donation to an organization they’re unfamiliar with. With all this data supporting online giving, what are the best ways to approach donors and ask for an online donation? Here are the top seven ways:

  1. Ask for smaller donations. Studies reveal a preference for online giving for donations below the $200 level. Some organizations will host campaigns where they ask donors for a donation of $20.18 to support their 2018 fundraising efforts. For a donation of this size, use online fundraising to easily collect more donations.
  2. Ask in the moment. If you’re working with a quick timeline, in the case of a political statement, news event, or natural disaster, an online donation page can take moments to set up and is much less expensive than creating an offline donation campaign, printing materials, stuffing envelopes, and sending letters. With this quick turnaround, you can reach people when they’re emotional and they’re more willing to react and support to right away.
  3. Focus on a monthly, online giving program. In today’s world, most people are familiar with the “subscription” model used by companies like Netflix and Amazon. They pay a set amount per month for their service, and funds are automatically taken from their account, so they don’t need to worry about paying a bill to receive service. Organizations can think about their monthly giving as a subscription for donors. You can create a special club name, provide organization “swag,” and send monthly updates showing the impact of donations.
  4. Create a simple and concise online donation form with one call-to-action: Donate! After donors give online, you have their email address and can reach out to thank them, ask them to follow you on social media, get feedback via a survey, and more. Virtual giving gives you a frictionless way to collect donations and get in touch with donors after the fact, so you’re not distracting them from the task at hand.
  5. Ask donors to give online at events. If your organization hosts a donation campaign or fund-the-need at your event, consider doing it electronically. With an electronic fund-the-need, your MC or auctioneer can make the same call for donations. And, using event fundraising technology, the progress to a goal can be tracked in real-time and displayed in front of the crowd to increase excitement and encourage more donations.
  6. Develop engaging social media content to drive donations. Whether your organization is using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or another platform, you can easily link your online donation page to the social media post and make it simple for donors to give if they’re on the computer or on their phone.
  7. Go Mobile! Nearly three-quarters of donors who responded to our survey said they had given a donation in the past 12 months on a mobile device. Some 14 percent of those donors made the donation via a text message. Using text messaging to share donation links can be an effective way to reach donors on their phones.

It’s clear that donor preference for online giving is growing across all age groups and income levels. Your organization should make it seamless for donors to give online with clear donation forms, a simple call-to-action, and a mobile-friendly website. Partnering with an event fundraising technology company and using a CRM can help you reach more donors and personalize your fundraising materials.

It’s important, however, to not completely rely on online fundraising. Some donors do prefer giving offline, and you want to ensure you’re providing them the opportunity to give via check or cash, so you don’t lose their donation!


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What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

Dawn L.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County