For many charities, COVID-19 has impacted not just on revenue overall, but the mix of channels that drive it. As uncertainty around how the virus could be spread took hold, many donors continued giving through the mail. Even more started giving online. Many of the non-profits we work with are reporting unprecedented online giving and new online donors over the past few months!
Whether it was more convenient, felt healthier and more responsible, or aligned with the general shift to virtual we’ve all undergone in the past few months is hard to say. And often, it was the engagement needed for development teams to finally make the case for investment into digital fundraising!
Does this sound like you? Is online giving finally getting the recognition you knew it needed – and now, you’re wondering what to do next?
Here are our top tips to take advantage of renewed (or brand-new!) interest in online fundraising:
Focus on email
The instinct is often to jump on to your coolest, shiniest new platforms. But email has been, and continues to be, the largest and most reliable online revenue driver for charities. Don’t abandon it now! In fact, with so many new names added to your list, it makes even more sense to focus on the universe you already have.
Find out where new donors came from
Now is a great time to do some digging in Google Analytics (or, to get it set up if you don’t already have it installed!). You can use Source/Medium and E-commerce reports to tell you what channels drove new donors to your website. This will tell you more about these new folks and what kinds of messaging resonate with them. Plus, it gives you good intel about where you may want to focus on future prospecting!
Build a plan to convert new donors
It’s hard to say for sure how so-called ‘COVID donors’ – in other words, new donors whose first gift to you was expressly motivated by the pandemic – will perform in the future. Will they behave like emergency donors, who renew at a very low rate? Or will they fall in love with the work you do and keep on giving?
Develop a plan to make the latter happen! Use an email onboarding series to welcome new donors into the fold and help them understand the breadth of work you’re doing (both COVID-related and not). Use segmentation to speak to these folks directly in upcoming solicitation and stewardship emails. Your goal now is to bridge the gap between the urgent need that first brought them in, and the ongoing need you’re meeting every day.
Make sure your back-end copy is up-to-date
Now is the time to check out all those forms and auto-responders hiding in the depths of your email program. You know, the ones you created when you set up your email service provider and never checked again? Take the opportunity to make sure they’re up to date, on-brand, and generally delightful!