May 1, 2023

Online Fundraising: The Beginner’s Guide

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Is your organization brand new to online fundraising? Need to brush up on your knowledge? This Beginner’s Guide to Online Fundraising provides the comprehensive information you need to get on the road to fundraising success by showing you how to raise money online with less time and effort, faster than ever before. 

If you are serious about improving your online fundraising efforts and are unfamiliar with the solutions fundraising software provides, we recommend reading this guide, even if you are not a true beginner. We’ve made our best efforts to make it brief and easy to understand with helpful tips along the way. 

What Is Online Fundraising

Online fundraising encompasses all the ways nonprofits, schools, and associations raise money via the internet, using online and mobile technology as well as software. It takes place via a fundraising page, a donate button, or by way of text-to-donate, and includes campaigns like annual appeals, peer-to-peer fundraisers, mobile giving, and more. 

Organizations of all sizes use online fundraising in both traditional and digital fundraising campaigns across multiple channels. It encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve results, drive donations, and increase cause awareness for potential donors.  

For many organizations, online fundraising works as a major component in making sure your donors understand what your organization is and why they should donate to your cause. There are many aspects to online fundraising, from how you display your calls to action to the way your forms look across the web and on mobile devices. 

But the best nonprofit online fundraising isn’t just about building a website and putting a donation form on it. It’s about making the entire online giving experience quick and easy. At GiveSmart, we believe these principles go hand-in-hand. 

This guide is designed to help you become familiar with all areas of an online fundraising software platform, including: 

  • Why offering a better online fundraising platform benefits both your organization and donors 
  • Reasons an all-in-one online fundraising platform supports your organization’s growth 
  • Marketing your cause effectively to inspire donors to give 

If you are learning about any of the above, you are not alone. That’s why we’re here to help show you how to raise money online efficiently and easily. Looking for a partner to help you elevate your online fundraising? Talk to a GiveSmart expert today. 

Why Does My Nonprofit Need Online Fundraising?

Donations made on the web through online fundraising continue to rise year after year. Although direct mail and in-person asks can be successful in generating donations for your organization, online donations are a much more efficient alternative. This is true across organization sizes and segments, from youth development services and education to animal welfare, healthcare, and just about anything else. 

Many fundraising software platforms offer one or two solutions like donation forms and crowdfunding, or only event fundraising. There are also end-to-end online fundraising platforms out there like GiveSmart that are built exclusively for nonprofits and include multiple solutions all in one easy-to-use interface, making it easy for donors to give in whichever way they prefer. If donors cannot find an easy way to give money to your organization through their preferred method, you miss out on incredible opportunities to drive donations to your nonprofit. 

Statistics show that successful online fundraising can make (or break) an organization’s success. Investing in software to help you raise money online can have an exceptionally high rate of return compared to other types of cause marketing and promotion. 

Will My Donors Be Able to Figure Out Online Fundraising Platforms?

You must make it as easy as possible for your supporters to give. Your donors are capable and eager to give online, but you have to serve them a modern, easy-to-use platform

Look for a platform that offers digital wallet payments, an easy giving and sign-up process, as well as mobile-friendly online forms. Simplifying the giving process for your donors, as well as editing your calls-to-action to be direct, will make it easy for your donors to give.   

Fundraising platforms help organizations of all sizes do just that by making the process easier. Make sure to look for a platform that regularly makes updates, too.  

The best online fundraising platform can net large amounts of donations and increased attention, but the wrong one can come with heavy costs and poor results—so choose yours wisely! A platform like GiveSmart gives you all of the tools you need to have year-round fundraising success. 

In addition to making the donation process more convenient for your donors, online fundraising also helps boost reach and augment your marketing efforts, meaning your content can be placed on social media, on your website, and in emails where your supporters will more readily take action. 

Additional Online Fundraising Resources and Tips 

Online fundraising offers a lot of opportunities for nonprofits, schools, and associations to reach their goals. There are many ways to find success, and that can feel daunting, even for the most seasoned fundraiser. Take a look at our online fundraising resources for tips on finding success with this strategy. 

Webinar: Your Donor Management Alter Ego: Experiences to Acquire, Convert, and Retain Donors 

This on-demand session complements your online fundraising plans. It’s all about strategies for acquiring new donors, getting donors to convert, and retaining donors–both new and returning.  

Webinar: Up, Up, and Away! Elevate Your Marketing Strategies to Raise More in 2023 

Now that you have a more refined online fundraising strategy, check out this on-demand webinar for what you need to make your marketing strategies a flying success. 

Template: Messaging templates for fundraising success 

End-of-year giving can account for over 30% of annual giving. In the last few months of the year, use this messaging guide to help you have success during this critical online fundraising time.  

Template: Recurring Giving Appeal Templates  

Recurring giving is a growing, year-round revenue stream option for nonprofits and schools. Use this messaging guide to copy, paste, and edit easy, pre-made recurring giving appeal templates for your online fundraising emails, social media posts, and text messages. 

Infographic: 5 Stats for #GivingTuesday Growth  

With this infographic, you’ll have insights into #GIvingTuesday data including donor trends, giving trends, popular traffic channels, and more that will help you make more informed decisions for your #GivingTuesday fundraising strategy. 

Fundraising Guide: Creating Your Perfect Peer-to-Peer Campaign 

Peer-to-peer fundraising involves volunteer fundraising ambassadors, usually families, supporters, community partners, and volunteers who raise money for your organization through personal outreach for donations. This comprehensive guide will help you have online fundraising success. 

To dive even deeper into online fundraising, check out GiveSmart resources and our blog. Looking to get started with online fundraising or to freshen up your strategy? Connect with a GiveSmart expert today. 

Webinar: Your Donor Management Alter Ego: Experiences to Acquire, Convert, and Retain Donors 

This on-demand session complements your online fundraising plans. It’s all about strategies for acquiring new donors, getting donors to convert, and retaining donors–both new and returning.  

Webinar: Up, Up, and Away! Elevate Your Marketing Strategies to Raise More in 2023 

Now that you have a more refined online fundraising strategy, check out this on-demand webinar for what you need to make your marketing strategies a flying success. 

Template: Messaging templates for fundraising success 

End-of-year giving can account for over 30% of annual giving. In the last few months of the year, use this messaging guide to help you have success during this critical online fundraising time.  

Template: Recurring Giving Appeal Templates  

Recurring giving is a growing, year-round revenue stream option for nonprofits and schools. Use this messaging guide to copy, paste, and edit easy, pre-made recurring giving appeal templates for your online fundraising emails, social media posts, and text messages. 

Infographic: 5 Stats for #GivingTuesday Growth  

With this infographic, you’ll have insights into #GIvingTuesday data including donor trends, giving trends, popular traffic channels, and more that will help you make more informed decisions for your #GivingTuesday fundraising strategy. 

Fundraising Guide: Creating Your Perfect Peer-to-Peer Campaign 

Peer-to-peer fundraising involves volunteer fundraising ambassadors, usually families, supporters, community partners, and volunteers who raise money for your organization through personal outreach for donations. This comprehensive guide will help you have online fundraising success. 

To dive even deeper into online fundraising, check out GiveSmart resources and our blog. Looking to get started with online fundraising or to freshen up your strategy? Connect with a GiveSmart expert today. 

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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