Online fundraising is no joke. In 2016, online donations accounted for the 7.2% of all the revenue raised and in some sectors it reached up to the 10.2%.

2016 Online Fundraising Revenue
Source: 2016 Charitable Giving Report

The 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report shows that 32% of NGOs worldwide have a written social media strategy and 34% have used paid advertising on social media.

Marketing for Non-profits: 3 Musts of Your Online Fundraising Strategy - Social Media Management

Whether your non-profit already has and digital and social media strategy or not, you should take a look at these 3 musts of your online fundraising strategy.

1. Use Social Media to Create Conversations

According to a research by the Case Foundation, 74% of non-profits use social media as a megaphone to announce their activities and events and share. However, changing this mindset and working to create conversations can make a huge difference in the results of a non-profit social media strategy.

A common rule between marketers to decide what they are going to post on social media is the so-called rule of thirds:

  • 1/3 of posts should be about you or your brand.
  • 1/3 of posts should be about your industry, with content from an outside source.
  • 1/3 of your posts should be personal interactions.

However, according to Steven Shattuck from HubSpot, while this rule seems to work well for businesses, it doesn’t do so good when it comes to non-profits. Instead, Shattuck proposes the “Three A’s” of Nonprofit Social Media Engagement”.

  • Appreciation: 1/3 of your content should be focused on recognizing and thanking your supporters.
  • Appeals: 1/3 should be asking for donations or help.
  • Advocacy: 1/3 should be focused on trying to engage with your advocates and ambassadors sharing content with them and through them.


Marketing for Non-profits: 3 Musts of Your Online Fundraising Strategy - 3 As

2. Have a “How to Help” or “Other Ways to Give” page

Fundraising is something indispensable for non-profits to survive. But it’s not all about money, non-profits also need another type of help and resources:

  • Volunteering
  • Material donations (food, books, clothes, etc.)
  • Buying fair-trade products
  • Being an ambassador/advocate (more about this below)

A financial donation might seem to make the biggest, most immediate impact. However, some people are just not ready to give money.

Giving them an alternative way of helping your organization, will provide you with non-monetary resources and it’s a perfect way to keep these potential donors in your funnel.

Additionally, these other ways to help can also work as a foot-in-the-door technique to achieve the last goal, which is a monetary donation.

A foot-in-the-door (FITD) technique is basically a compliance tactic that involves getting a person to agree to a large request by first setting them up by having that person agree to a modest request. This principle is based on the idea that a small agreement creates a bond between the requester and the requestee, which makes it easier for the requestee to agree with the large request.

In other words, a person who has already done a small thing for your organization (donating old clothes, helping you spread the word, etc.) might be more likely to agree to an economic donation than one who hasn’t.


3. Rely on word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising means leveraging on your supporters to fundraise on your behalf. It’s also known as social fundraising, and it’s a great way to get new donors and reach new networks of people.

Word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer fundraising are very powerful techniques for non-profits for three main reasons: improve the impact of non-profits’ limited resources, leverage existing relationships, and will help you grow awareness organically.


Improve the impact of non-profits’ limited resources:

Most non-profits have limited resources but, normally, have a good number of supporters: employees, volunteers, donors, partners, sponsors, people who receive the help, etc. This gives an incredible chance to raise an army of supporters (a.k.a.: advocates or ambassadors) who can help the organization spread the word and raise funds.


Leverage existing relationships:

Traditional fundraising takes a lot of time and effort. It is hard to earn people’s trust. However, if the message comes from peer-to-peer it builds upon an existing relationship. This means that by relying on your supporters ‘networks (friends, family, colleagues. Etc.) you can speed up the whole fundraising process and make it more effective.


Grow awareness organically:

When you share a post on your organization’s social media page (i.e.: in Facebook), you only reach a 3% of your fans on average. However, when the content is shared on a personal Facebook profile, the reach is much higher. Sharing your content through your supporters helps you better position organically and increase awareness.


How to Use Word-of-mouth and Peer-to-peer Fundraising Marketing to Improve Your Fundraising Campaigns - Supporter networkSource: CrowdCrux


  • Online fundraising is growing fast and more and more non-profits are starting to invest in digital marketing strategies.
  • Don’t use social media just as a megaphone. Use it to build conversations with your audience.
  • Try to offer a balanced mix of content focusing on the three A’s: appreciation, appeals, and advocacy.
  • Giving your audience alternative ways of helping your organization will help you gain resources and improve your donor conversion.
  • Word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer fundraising will help you make the most of one of your most valuable resources: your supporters.

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