Over the past 18 years that I have been involved in fundraising at Mastek Foundation there are a few lessons I have picked up which I will share. In this article, I will share the benefits of running campaigns vs static donation pages on websites for retail fundraising.
For fundraisers Campaigns work better than static website ‘donate’ buttons
Many NGOs that I interact with build a website, put a donation page with static content and assume that this will drive donors to come and donate. While I do not deny the need to have a website and a donation page, to assume that donors will search and find their website does not work.
The most powerful form of communication available to the social sector is ‘story telling’. When people donate they simply do not donate with their ‘heads’ but it is their ‘heart’ that drives them.
Yet we build static websites with static donation pages expecting donations.
Stories that connect to the heart get donors
I remember my visit to Mahan trust at Melghat , we travelled by train from Mumbai and after that it was a two hours drive to Melgaht. It was monsoon time and while travelling to the destination we came to a location where the road quickly disappeared as waters rose, we tried reaching Melghat from various points but the area was simply cut off from all sides and we could not enter. We had to travel back to Mumbai the next day!
On my way back I realized the importance of having an ambulance in this region, I spoke to Dr Ashish Satav and he mentioned that this would be most useful for poor tribal patients that are spread across and there is very little transport available.
Once I came back I shared the story of my visit to Melghat and the difficult conditions in which Dr Satav and his wife are serving the poorest of poor in our country. In two days, the employees at Mastek trough their contributions raised money for the ambulance!
Donors decide with their hearts and that is why running campaigns that tell a story work better than static content!
Where does one get stories that emotionally connect?
I had to be on the road at Melghat to understand the difficult conditions in which Dr Satav works , I had to experience the difficulty of getting cut off from the world during monsoons .
The simple answer is stories are on the ground, with our beneficiaries. The term that we understand in the social sector but often forget when we communicate is ‘Empathy’. Everyone who is touched by good has a powerful story to tell. Share those stories through your campaigns. Let your donors connect with emotions of beneficiaries.
The shortest way from head to the purse is through the heart.
Multiple donation options confuse donors
There is so much content on websites and on donation pages that donors are lost. When we put up 10 asks the donors just do not know what to act on and the chances are they will not do anything!
Campaigns help to get focus and the ‘ask’, donors know exactly what is expected and the target is clear,not more than 2 or 3 choices at the most that is available and that is it.
Break down the Ask
If you wish to build retail donor base, break down the ask in units that large numbers of donors can participate in. Make products that donors can connect with eg ‘Feed a child for one year’, ‘donate school uniform for a child’. On the GivNow platform you can define multiple donation products in your campaign.
Campaigns move to Mobile Purse
Mobile is the new age purse and the fastest way to get donation is go to the purse.
The world is moving towards digital payments and this is good for the social sector because the decisions and actions are immediate. A campaign that comes on the mobile with a link for payment gateway works to get immediate donations. New age donors do not have time to write cheques, go to website do a NEFT payment they act on impulse whether it is shopping or donating and they do not hesitate to use the mobile.
That is why when we were building GivNow to serve the social sector with fundraising and donor engagement we built an easy campaigning tool for NGOs that works through a link and can be shared on the mobile phones of donors through sms, Facebook , WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter. The idea is to get instant donations.
Build donor databases
Retail donations help NGOs to invest in innovation and administration which is very critical. Technology can assist building of donor databases which can be leveraged.
I will share my thoughts on some of the best practices I have picked up over the years on fundraising. Watch out this space, do share your feedback and comments with me on email@example.com
Co-Founder Head of marketing Benow,
Co-Founder Trustee Mastek Foundation,
Follow me on twitter @SanjayMudnaney